Safe at last

Racing finally have something to smile about

It’s been a long and tortuous season for Racing, but on Sunday night, at last, their fans will finally be able to sleep sound in their beds, and when they wake up on Monday morning will be going into work or school with, if not pride, then at least a massive sense of relief. On Sunday afternoon, their club beat Belgrano de Córdoba by a brilliant Maxi Moralez goal to nil, to win 2-1 on aggregate and secure another season in Primera A. In the later match, Gimnasia de Jujuy defended their own Primera A berth with a 1-0 win over Unión de Santa Fé.

Juan Manuel Llop had drilled his Racing side well in the buildup to the game, but still had to contend with the enormously high tension in the stadium. His side could afford a draw, but a loss would be simply unimaginable for them, and Belgrano, in the early stages, looked the better side, well organised and dangerous on the counter attack, forcing the home crowd to hold their breath on more than one occasion, not least in the ninth minute when first leg goalscorer Matias Gigli found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper José Luis Martínez Gullota. His shot, however, flashed wide of the post, and the hosts could breathe again.

A minute later, they were doing more than that, shouting and screaming for joy, celebrating a magnificent goal from Maxi Moralez, who won the ball on the left and exchanged passes with the dropping-off Facundo Sava before beating the goalkeeper and finishing strongly to calm Racing’s many nerves.

After that it was a nervous match, with Racing missing chances to extend the lead and put the tie beyond doubt, but Belgrano unable to capitalise on the numerous efforts they themselves had, hitting the crossbar later in the first half and with substitute Claudio Bustos missing an unbelievable sitter from almost underneath the crossbar in the second. Belgrano deserved better for their play, but with the stadium getting increasingly noisy as the minutes ticked down, it was finally time for it to explode on the final whistle. It’s been an up-and-down season and the players may not deserve it, but for another year at least, Racing es de Primera.

Gimnasia de Jujuy also defended their Primera A place, beating Unión de Santa Fé 1-0 thanks to a header midway through the second half from Juan Arraya in a dull match in Jujuy. Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg, Gimnasia, like Racing, win 2-1 on aggregate. Claudio Gugnali in the first half and Marcelo Mosset in the second were both sent off from the visitors, whilst Marcelo Quinteros saw red for the home side.

16 thoughts on “Safe at last

  1. I have, indeed, a great feeling of relief!

    Ever since before the Clausura started, I was well aware we were going to have a nightmare of a season and at some stages we were even risking the direct relegation.

    It was very very nice to see the stadium like that and the incredible demand for tickets at a time in which many supporters of many other big clubs would have gone missing.

    Sava crying like a baby in the end, really killed me and make me cry a little bit as well. I guess he was just letting all go. All the pressures, all the guilt for missing sitters (the most notable against non other than Independiente) and frankly, being a Racing fan and having sacrificed a lot to play for Racing, he deserves to take that off his chest. And what a Riquelmian assist he gave Maxi in that glorious goal!

    I still think we need a better striker, but all credit to him for never stop trying and for playing with his heart.

    Now, back to the usual institutional turmoil and get ready for a series of incredible fights for power, ridiculous signings and valuable player losses.

    It’s life at Racing! Like nothing else in this world!

  2. Hi..I am new to this website..still choosing my team in Argentine football ..decided that I am not going to go with the most successful team but base it more on the style of play over a period of time…..Any videos for these games guys? Thanks ..and keep up the excellent work hastaelgolsiempre!

  3. I’m so pleased for Seba and all the Racing fans! What a night last night was.
    I was very worried when I was watching the disturbances in the stands before the match. The police looked to have sensibly eased the crowd congestion in the standing areas by letting Racing fans occupy the ‘banned’ area, but what was running through my mind all through that incident was last year at Nuevo Chicago. ‘If this goes the wrong way’ I was thinking it could all kick off after the game, and Racing landed with an 18 point deduction in B at the end of it all.
    So glad it didn’t come to that! In fact, I think all the bad decisions and terrible luck suffered by Racing were building up to this match, where the team got all its luck back!

    When Gigli’s header hit the bar, what two pieces of massive luck, for it to bounce in front of the line AND miss Gullotta’s squirming body when I was convinced it was going to hit him and go into the net. That moment, and also Bustos rounding the keeper, both seemed to happen in slow motion, it was part of the torture of being a Racing fan ha ha!
    Mat, my namesake, hello. If you are choosing a club in Argentina, may I point you in the direction of Racing! : )
    I started watching futbol argentino in 1994, when I came across it on free-to-air Spanish satellite TV. It used to be on every Friday night, the game of the previous weekend plus highlights of all the others.

    I chose Racing for two reasons – their striker Claudio ‘Turco’ Garcia was just the epitomy of a cool Latin American striker, bleach-blond ‘Rod Stewart’ haircut but more importantly some amazing touches of skill, what British football used to call a ‘maverick’. And the fans! I saw Racing lose 2-0 to Independiente, who were then champions, on one of these Friday night programmes, and the way the fans continued to sing and proclaim their love for Racing, despite their team being totally outplayed, was inspiring!

    Racing seem to be a constant fight against the odds… 2-0 down to Independiente in another clasico, Racing fought to 2-2 with a brilliant late equalizer by Chelo Delgado who I met in Ireland a few years later, and he was amazed an English person, talking to him in very slow ‘college’ Spanish, knew of this game!

    The 2001 title was a continual fight against the odds, against the power of River Plate, and the Bedoya equaliser in the vital match against River was another brilliant moment!

    And of course last night! Despite a terrible season, the shirts can still provide one evening of magic and celebration.
    There will be plenty of time to discuss the future on this blog – who stays, who goes, whether Llop is the man for the long term – but it’s been such a rollercoaster ride abd a privelege to share with Seba on this blog, although hopefully, not one to be repeated quite like this…
    Unless Llop can build a team to take to the title
    of Apertura 2008 ‘paso a paso’ that is! : )

  4. Sam, can you do a resume of whose up and down in all divisions?
    I know Talleres stayed in B, but I thought I heard something about them having a deduction of points for next season, is this correct and if so, why?
    The pic of Cervera is quite scary on the Flikr group!
    He’s a talented player sadly past his best…
    The fate of Nueva Chicago should be a warning to Barras Bravas of any club. They’re in the third division now because of last year’s crowd violence and points deduction. They’re quite a big club, but may never come back to the top flight…

  5. Maxi Moralez is on loan from a Russian club, right? Does anyone know if he’s staying in Argentina for the Apertura or if he is going back?

  6. Welcome to HEGS, Mat. And listen to Matthew. There’s never a dull moment supporting Racing Club! We are not playing in a proper way to go with our glorious history and our nickname (La Academia) but as I said, never a dull moment!

    Matthew! The pleasure was mine! My surname is García so you can imagine what my nickname was when I was in high school and EL TURCO rocked the first division! By the way…EL TURCO (as I’m sure you know, means TURKISH) but there’s nothing Turkish in a surname which is probably the most common Spanish surname of all. Why did he earn that nickname? Well…he was playing in the streets when he was a boy and he said to a friend of his, asking him to leave the ball: “DEJALAJALAJALA” (“Leave it, leave it, leave it) but of course he should have only said: “DEJALA” once. But he added the rest (JALAJALAJALA (which in English would be written “halah halah halah”) and that’s why they started calling him Turkish (as we wrongly nickname every person that speaks Arabic or comes from the Arab world). Anyway…enough with that random story.

    Regarding promotions and relegations. Without checking the info (off the top of my head).

    RELEGATED FROM 1st division to B Nacional: San Martín de San Juan and Olimpo.

    PROMOTED FROM B Nacional to 1st division: San Martín de Tucumán and Godoy Cruz de Mendoza.

    RELEGATED FROM B Nacional to B Metropolitana: Almirante Brown, Nueva Chicago (through promoción) and there must be another one there that I’m missing.

    PROMOTED FROM B Metropolitana to B Nacional:
    All Boys and Los Andes (through promoción beating Nueva Chicago)

    PROMOTED FROM Argentino A to B Nacional:
    Atlético Tucumán.

    Then, in the divisions below, I’ve got no idea!

    Andrew, regarding Maxi Moralez, his loan will run until the end of the next Apertura, so he should be staying.

    In other Racing Club news, Blanquiceleste S.A. has been officially kicked out of the club and they have no business going on with the club. It has been reported, they have a debt of 18 million pesos (roughly 6 million US dollars/ 3 million British Pounds) with Racing Club.

    And Juan Manuel Llop has been confirmed as manager for the next Torneo Apertura.

    Names will start dancing now. We’ll see if we keep on bringing underachievers with no name or if we get serious for once.

  7. Thanks for fielding that one Seba. A full list of ALL the promoted and relegated sides, right down to Primera D / Torneo del Interior is now up on the site (although I’ve been unable to find anything about if any sides have been relegated from the Torneo del Interior. Does this even happen?).

  8. I’m really happy for you Seba! I can truly understand how you must be feeling right now.

    This day will go down as one of those greatest moment in Racing’s long and glorious history.


  9. Thanks for the welcome guys..have been reading ur comments and seeing your passion for Racing! ..will keep Racing on the top of my mind as I search on a team in the Primera!! since you guys know so much abt the league I was wondering if there are sites where I can watch the games…or some TV channels for folks in the US??? … or some sites where I can see highlights..that would be ideal with the amount of time we have these days!

  10. You won’t find any links to it here, Mat, because I’m in the UK and the legal situation with encouraging people to watch online football isn’t entirely clear. But you might do worse than an online search for ‘rojadirecta [dot] com’…

  11. Fox Soccer Channel shows one game per week in the US (they usually alternate Boca, River, Boca, River each week unless there is a special circumstance). Also for Copa Libertadores games you need Fox Sports en Espanol. Some areas offer TyC which is the Argentine channel but I know in my area you have to buy a whole Spanish language tier for that one.

  12. Thanks Andrew and others for the help..looks like I will have to suffice with Boca and River games unless I can spend a ton of money…I better learn Spanish though :)

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