Differing margins

Ros (arms aloft) celebrates a goal his side hardly deserved

Tigre got back to winning ways against Olimpo, whilst San Martín vs. Gimnasia de Jujuy and Argentinos vs. Huracán were both stalemates, but it was the two scorelines that sandwiched those other three which define Saturday’s action in the fifth round of the Clausura. In the day’s final match, Vélez regained the summit of the table with the narrowest of narrow victories over Newell’s – through a penalty that shouldn’t have been given. Rather more deserving were Banfield, who visited the champions in their derby and tore them to pieces, 5-0.

Vélez didn’t play well in the José Amalfitani. In fact, they were downright rubbish. Newell’s manager Ricardo Caruso Lombardi was clever and effectively stopped them playing by going for a man-marking system in the final third which neutralised Vélez’s two forwards and left playmaker Damián Escudero, whilst still clearly the hosts’ best player, almost totally ineffective. There were only two noteworthy occurences on Vélez’s part: the debut of their new ‘double V’ shirt (pictured above), and the penalty awarded for a non-existent foul on Damián Escudero after fifteen minutes, which was tucked away by Leonel Ríos, and turned out to be the only shot Vélez would have in the whole match.

Thereafter, goalkeeper Germán Montoya showed his worth to the team in the second half, turning in a man-of-the-match performance to deny Newell’s an equaliser. It’s said that playing badly and winning is the mark of champions, but if Vélez are going to make a habit of playing this badly, they surely won’t stand much of a chance against better sides than Newell’s.

In La Fortaleza, meanwhile, the current champions of Argentina were turning in an even less impressive performance, though that shouldn’t detract at all from Banfield’s – and in particular Darío Cvitanich’s – brilliance as they visited their neighbours and tore them limb from limb to join them on six points. Cvitanich scored twice – his side’s second and fifth goals – and set two up for Maxi Laso and Luciano Civelli. Oh, he also forced the corner from which Fabián Santana volleyed home the fourth.

Banfield’s shape was set up initially to frustrate Lanús, with two or three men harrying playmaker Diego Valeri whenever he got on the ball and José Sand muscled out up front. El Taladro‘s strikers also pushed up high against the home defenders, giving them no time to play the ball out from the back, and Cvitanich took advantage of the home team’s discomfort in expert fashion. Twenty minutes in he cut the ball back from the byline for Laso to thrash home for 1-0; in the thirty-seventh he kept a cool head to double the lead after his first attempt was blocked; a minute after the break he sent a high ball into the box from which Civelli made it three at the far post, and in the 83rd minute he danced past the goalkeeper to put the finishing touch on a passing move that Lanús themselves, in their championship-winning campaign of the Apertura, would have been proud of. 5-0, and the goalkeeper hadn’t even scored. For any side apart from Banfield, that wouldn’t be a surprise.

Santiago Biglieri was sent off for the home side with three minutes left as frustrations spilled over, but the match was already finished a long time before then. Olé even suggested that Cvitanich, who could be elligible to play for Croatia, might be worth a call-up for the forthcoming European championship, with star Brazilian (sorry, sorry, Croatian) striker Eduardo Da Silva out for both Arsenal and his adopted country with a broken ankle. On this performance, if the Croatians are aware of Cvitanich, they could do a lot worse…

One thought on “Differing margins

  1. Thank you for mentioning that Velez’s penalty against Newell’s should not have been called. I’ve seen the footage, and even the announcers questioned it. The replay clearly showed that there was no foul, and even if there had been, it was outside the area.

    When I first saw the score, I didn’t mind losing 1-0 away to a team that’s near the top of the table… after seeing the vid, I’ll be fuming for days.

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