With the top three tiers in Argentine football having broken up for the summer (speaking of which the lower division results service will make a belated return tomorrow for Primeras C and D), the main focus for Argentine fans this weekend was on their Europe-based players. In England, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano found themselves on opposite sides of a monumental rivalry which Olé christened the ‘Super Derby’, there was disappointment in Spain for Lio Messi, but Inter’s Argentines once again did rather better in Serie A.
At Anfield, where Liverpool hosted Manchester United in a desperately poor game, Carlitos came out on top against his friend and old rival Mascherano, scoring the game’s only goal just before half-time. The two were team-mates at Corinthians and West Ham, as well as for the national side of course, but were on opposite sides of the superclásico before leaving their homeland, and now know what one of England’s fiercest rivalries feels like in comparison. Tevez diverted home a long shot from Wayne Rooney to send United top for a few hours before Arsenal beat Chelsea later in the day.
On Saturday night in Valencia, Barcelona, with only one win away from home all season in La Liga, finally broke that poor run with a convincing win in the Mestalla, thanks to Samuel Eto’o’s two-goal return from long-term injury, and their dominance wasn’t reflected even by a final score of 3-0. Gaby Milito and the rest of Barcelona’s backline were called into action a couple of times during the second half, but never really had to stretch themselves. Messi, however, left the pitch in the first half with a tear to a thigh muscle, and will need around a month to recover – he’ll miss Spain’s own biggest rivalry, when Barça host Real Madrid next weekend, but should be OK in time for the selección‘s next matches.
Internazionale continue their march at the top of Serie A, meanwhile, with Julio Cruz setting them on their way in a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Cagliari. Honduran David Suazo got the second. Javier Zanetti, Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and Hernán Crespo also started for Inter, and as Cruz got his 9th league goal of the season, one question surely arises: should Alfio Basile be giving El Jardinero more serious consideration as backup (or even first choice) target man for the selección, in the event of Crespo picking up any more injuries? Next weekend Inter will, like Gaby Milito at Barcelona, also have a major rivalry – the city derby against newly crowned world champions Milan.