Disappointment all round

All square in Liniers

Independiente were the home side in Vélez’s stadium for the clásico de Avellaneda on Saturday afternoon, and the result was one that didn’t really suit either side. A win for Independiente would have put them in the Copa Sudamericana – one for Racing would have kept them in with a chance of avoiding a relegation playoff. The result was a 0-0 which, if nothing else, wasn’t a drab one.

The match started with Racing pressing and marking tightly as Independiente went forward in search of the opener, and as the minutes passed it was El Rojo, with much less pressure on them, who were playing the better football. Racing’s hard work, though, combined with the unexpected absence of Daniel Montenegro from the starting lineup kept it all square. After Germán Denis had missed one good chance, Hernán Fredes almost broke the deadlock, finding himself all alone in the left channel, but in front of a rapt stadium, his cross-shot beat the goalkeeper but was then cleared off the line by Racing defender Gabriel Mercado.

Racing were, if nothing else, refusing to fall into the trap of their recent matches: a great first half performance followed by let-down in the second forty-five minutes. They did this by not really trying to play in the first period.

In the second, with Montenegro warming up by the bench, Independiente continued to go for it, but once again met with stern resistance from La Academia. Montenegro came off the bench for Gastón Machín in the 50th minute, in an attempt to give the Independiente attack a little more guile, but little by little Racing’s pressing game took them further from their own goal, and by the 60th minute – incredibly – they were playing football in Independiente’s half! In the 68th minute, Reinaldo Navia brilliantly set Roberto Bonnet free and the Paraguayan midfielder’s cross was met powerfully by Facundo Sava. It was Sava’s first chance of the match and he could only watch in agony as it arrowed towards the goal – but just a little too high, and cannoned back off the crossbar. Minutes later, another header went narrowly wide of Fabián Assman’s goal.

The match ended with Montenegro once again injured, just minutes after making his comeback from a long injury layoff, but with little else to show from either side. Independiente aren’t yet out of the running for the Copa Sudamericana. Racing, if Colón lose to River on Sunday, will still be in with a shout – three points behind with two matches left, one of which will be against Colón on the last day. They could yet escape. But were that the case or not, a win in the clásico was just a little too much to hope for, it seems.

13 thoughts on “Disappointment all round

  1. I didn’t really enjoy the game that much, probably too much riding on it, but it showed to me that Independiente are not half as good as previous matches made them out to be. Llop set Racing up to defend, and they couldn’t get past the barrier. I thought Fredes would score but Mercado watched the shot well. Other than that, I don’t think Rojo created anything really dangerous, and the second half showed there wasn’t anything to be frightened of. Apart from Rolfi, a fit Rolfi could have opened things up for them, but to see him hopping off was a relief for Racing.

  2. Agreed. But what I also noticed was that the best moments for Racing during that match came when Rolfi was playing for Independiente. I’m not saying it was because Rolfi was playing. It could be a coincidence. When Rolfi came in, Racing really pushed for a goal and was denied by the cross-bar and Sava’s inability to score. Then Rolfi got injured and Independiente started controlling the game again. Very very strange thing to happen. But it did.

    Not to cry right now, but I think there was a play in which one of Independiente’s players (I think Matheu) kicked Sava in the head while Sava was trying to head the ball. Sava didn’t fall or complain and the ref waved play on. It was a definite dangerous contact and it could have been a penalty (or at the very least an indirect free-kick inside the Rojo area).

    By the way…we’ve come to 30 matches without being awarded a penalty kick! But we are where we are because we suck. These are just a few facts I wanted to share with you.

  3. I need a confirmation about when will the teams that qualifies for South American Cups will be clear. I heard it is changed this season and teams will be determeined with the average point after 3 season. Is it true?

  4. The points are those in the last column. San Lorenzo had 45, Boca 39, etc.


  5. Sorry tretman, I have to correct a bit on the previous information I gave you. The three tournaments to be considered for the Libertadores 09 qualification are: Apertura 2007, this Clausura 2008 and the upcoming Apertura 2008.

    So you’ll have to ignore that table I pasted above and check this one:

    Apertura 2007


    1.Lanús 19 11 5 3 34-21 38 Champions [Buenos Aires]
    2.Tigre (Victoria) 19 10 4 5 28-20 34 [Buenos Aires]
    3.Banfield 19 10 2 7 22-21 32 [Buenos Aires]
    4.Boca Juniors 19 9 4 6 32-18 31 [Buenos Aires]
    5.Argentinos Juniors 19 9 4 6 29-20 31 [Buenos Aires]
    6.Estudiantes (La Plata) 19 8 6 5 27-19 30 [Buenos Aires]
    7.Huracán (Buenos Aires) 19 8 6 5 24-22 30 [Buenos Aires]
    8.San Lorenzo de Almagro 19 8 5 6 29-27 29 [Buenos Aires]
    9.Independiente 19 8 4 7 33-23 28 [Buenos Aires]
    10.Vélez Sarsfield 19 8 3 8 25-25 27 [Buenos Aires]
    11.Newell’s Old Boys (Rosario) 19 8 3 8 16-22 27 [Santa Fe]
    12.Arsenal 19 7 5 7 19-24 26 [Buenos Aires]
    13.Racing Club 19 7 4 8 23-24 25 [Buenos Aires]
    14.River Plate 19 6 5 8 31-33 23 [Buenos Aires]
    15.Colón 19 6 4 9 19-22 22 [Santa Fe]
    16.Olimpo (Bahía Blanca) 19 6 4 9 18-24 22 [Buenos Aires]
    17.Gimnasia y Esgrima (Jujuy) 19 5 5 9 22-31 20 [Jujuy]
    18.Gimnasia y Esgrima (La Plata) 19 5 4 10 15-27 19 [Buenos Aires]
    19.San Martín (San Juan) 19 5 3 11 18-29 18 [San Juan]
    20.Rosario Central 19 2 8 9 21-33 14 [Santa Fe]

    Also, I forgot one important bit of info.

    The Copa Libertadores qualification will consider those average points to determine some of the qualified teams. There are other ways to qualify and there’s one team already qualified: Lanús (as Apertura 2007 champions).

    It’s quite logical, coming from the AFA, because the 2007 champions will qualify for the 2009 Copa Libertadores! Yeah…you are right…almost 2 years after winning the league they go and represent Argentina in South America! Let’s see how many of the players from that league-winning team will remain at Lanús when the Libertadores come. Lautaro Acosta is already off to Sevilla and you can be sure he won’t be the last one to leave.

    So…to sum up all this mess I made in the last few messages.

    The champions of Apertura 2007 (Lanús), Clausura 2008 and the future Apertura 2008 will qualify directly. The other two teams will be those with most points combined in those three tournaments.

    Sorry for the confussion and thank you AFA! I couldn’t possibly hate you more!

  6. I have an idea…
    Let’s abandon relegation at the end of this Clausura and have it at the end of Apertura 2008 instead.
    This may give Racing some sort of opportunity to overtake Colon, and it’s no more ridiculous than what is happening with Libertadores 09.
    Currently tearing my hair out watching Colon-River. Colon could beat ten men : (
    Having said that, I think Piccoli may get another booking. If Estevez is out of condition, what has Piccoli been doing since I last saw him, eating pies?!! He’s always been a big guy, but he looks ridiculous…

  7. There’s nowhere yet to put this, but Capurro should be OFF! It looked like WWF when he was tackling Abreu earlier and he’s just been booked for a hack at Buonanotte. Colon are a brutal, thuggish side under Mohamed. I used to like watching them when Basile was there, but this is horrible.

  8. No no no. Just Arsenal, Boca, River (these last two invited by Conmebol) and the best 4 teams of this season’s table (Apertura + Clausura).

    At the moment: Estudiantes, San Lorenzo, Argentinos Jrs. and Independiente (but Velez have a chance to surpass Independiente if they win tonight against Gimnasia at La Plata).

    And Matthew, regarding Colón v River…I was watching and I couldn’t believe River were reduced to 10 men in only 19 minutes. I thought: “Typical Racing Club luck!”. But what a way to win it and keep us in contention!

    So glad with the result. Simeone, a Racing fan, is surely a man that it’s two-times happy!

    Gracias River!

  9. Thanks for fielding the question on Copa qualification, Seba – I wasn’t on the site (I was watching Huracán vs. Estudiantes whilst cooking dinner for me and my brother) and in any case wouldn’t have been able to answer it that succinctly without reference to a book or two!

    By the time I saw the comments you’d already corrected / updated your reply which got held due to the link, so I’ve just deleted it since it’s basically the same minus the correction anyway. Hope that’s OK.

    Tretman, three championships is ONE AND A HALF SEASONS, not three seasons! There are two championships per season in Argentina, remember. The situation with three championships being used for Libertadores qualification will only be happening for the Libertadores THIS YEAR, because from next year on the two championships in each calendar year will qualify teams directly for the following year’s Libertadores.

    Also Seba, just one thing, but the champions of the Apertura don’t wait ‘nearly two years’, they wait just over one year. There’s a difference of ten months between the two!

  10. Yep, Sam. I forgot to ask you to delete my previous message that had a wrong table. Top stuff!

    I understand what you say about the time between winning the league and playing in the Copa Libertadores, but let’s face it, be it nearly 2 years or just over a year it’s simply too much for these frantic days in which you can’t be sure you’ll have all your 11 starters for next week, isn’t it?

    Take Europe, for example, and see that the teams qualified for the Champions League know their fate by April, early May and they start playing later in the same calendar year. Some even play the qualifying stages and start their continental campaign only 3 or 4 months after reaching that stage.

    And just how cruel is destiny with Racing? Olimpo scored in the 5th minute of added time against San Lorenzo, when Mr. Laverni had only added 4!

    Now we risk direct relegation! We need to win at least one of the two remaining matches to guarantee Gimnasia de Jujuy can’t get more points than Racing. But if we win one and lose the other and Jujuy win both, then we’ll have to play a tie-breaker to decide who survives (goes to the Promoción) and who gets relegated.

    Another sad Sunday (week) for me!

  11. Sure Seba, but spare a thought for the Russian clubs who play the same season as Brazil – the Champions League and UEFA Cup start halfway through their seasons, and continue through the long cold Russian winter.

    I’ve never said the situation with Apertura winners is anything other than ridiculous though, so it’s good that AFA are (far, far too late) putting it right now.

    Also, don’t forget the added time indicated, according to the Laws of the Game, is only a minimum… still, cruel to Racing all the same…

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