This will be a very quick roundup, because January always makes me a little lazy with the amount of stuff I want to write, due to the lack of meaningful domestic league action. Still, there were some performances from our boys abroad in the last week, and one perhaps notable absence.
That absence was Carlos Tevez, who jogged up and down the touchline and got an ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, but wasn’t sent out onto the field of play as Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-0. Franco Di Santo did make a substitute appearance for the visitors, but was largely noticeable for losing Dimitar Berbatov right before the Bulgarian stabbed home United’s third goal. Whether this latest lack of action is a sign of that the current holder of HEGS‘s ‘Best Argentine Abroad’ award is really leaving Manchester, we shall have to see. The day before that match, Diego Maradona had been watching Javier Mascherano’s Liverpool stumble to a 0-0 draw against Stoke City. He was at Old Trafford for Tevez’s round of applause, too. Will Carlitos stay in the national setup, when he’s barely playing for his club?
In Mexico’s Interliga, Hugo Marioni gave a stellar performance as Atlas came back from the dead to beat Ramón Díaz’s Club América and win 4-1 on the night for an aggregate victory, whilst Lucas Lobos scored for Tigres as they went down 4-2 to Chivas de Guadalajara. The winners of the Interliga, which is basically a pre-season tournament held in the United States between Mexican clubs, get a Copa Libertadores place, so Atlas, in beating América, may have just cost me my chance of seeing a Copa group game in the Estadio Azteca whilst I’m in Mexico City next month. Muchas gracias, Hugo…
In Italy on Sunday, Juampi Carrizo, Mauro Zárate and Cristian Ledesma all played as Lazio won 3-2 away to Reggina thanks to a Goran Pandev hat-trick, and the day before, el Inter de los argentinos drew 1-1 at home to Cagliari with Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Julio Cruz all starting. Hernán Crespo came on for Samuel with just over twenty minutes to go.
In Greece, former Chacarita Juniors player Sergio Daniel Ponce scored for Panthrakikos to put them 1-0 up, but they ended up losing 3-1 at home to Panathinaikos. Also on Saturday, Olympiakos beat Xanthi 1-0 with a first half goal from Luciano Galletti, who had his countrymen Sebastián Leto and Fernando Belluschi alongside him in the midfield. In France, Fernando Cavenaghi scored – just the once – for Bordeaux as they thrashed Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 at home.
In Spain, one man continues to impress. Roberto Abbondanzieri was sent off as Getafe lost 2-0 away to Numancia; Gonzalo Higuaín didn’t score, for a change, for Real Madrid (who beat Real Mallorca 3-0 away), and nor did any of Atlético’s Argentines. Lionel Messi was key once more for Barcelona, though. In a ridiculously foggy match, Messi went on a mazy run to almost score a brilliant solo goal in the fourth minute, set up Samuel Eto’o with another to put Barça 1-0 up just before half time, and then, after the runaway leaders of La Liga had shockingly fallen behind 2-1 before equalising, he scored the winner by cutting inside from the left and absolutely belting the ball into the far corner from 25 yards. The ball was practically past the goalkeeper before he’d even moved for it.
Thanks as ever to Tom Clark for keeping me up to speed with goings-on in Mexico.
As you’ve broached the subject of Argentine doings in the Mexican Interliga, from my report last week, you’d probably want to follow that line of news through to completion. I’ve posted you two more reports since then, but obviously these didn’t reach you in time. Here, for you and your faithful readership, they are:
To add to my earlier post, for your AA on Tuesday:
Yesterday (Sunday) in the finals of the Mexican Interliga, Chivas (over Morelia) and Pachuca (over Atlas) went through, to become the Mexico 2 and Mexico 3 teams in the Copa Libertadores. (Mexico 1 is the Clausura superlider San Luis.) Both very exciting games finally turning on penalties. The Argentine angle was provided by Christian “Chaco ” Gimenez scoring Pachuca’s crucial third (it ended 3-3 after 90, Atlas, with Marioni battling up front, making a great game of it by scoring three times late, then going down to four saved penalties by Pachuca’s Colombian keeper Miguel Calero).
It’s about now you’re doing your AA report. And it’s been bothering me all night there’s one thing forgot to tell you re. Mexican AA news. Kept me awake all night–that and a terrific windstorm blowing around the rocks that hold down the tattered tarpaulins that constitute our decaying roof.
There is now one less influential Argentine player in Mexico–at Santos Laguna, where the Argentines Vicente Matias Vuoso and Daniel Emmanuel Luduena have been essential figures for several years now. Both of them are still there. But now neither of them is any longer Argentine. You’ll recall that Vuoso was “nacionalized” as a Mexican citizen last year (and even, to the dismay of some, was selected by Sven for the national squad). Now Luduena–the ex-River man whose great performance, including the winning goal in the gran final, was so important to Santos’ 08 Clausura championship–has done the same.
This is big news in Mexico. Perhaps less so in Argentina, where Luduena may not be as well remembered as he ought to be.
Small correction, to (try to) clarify a bit the somewhat mystifying Mexican Libertadores qualification protocol alluded to above.
As I said, Mexico 1 will be San Luis–the superlider (overall leader of the standings, though later eliminated in the Liguilla–another complication!) of the Apertura 08 campaign (not the Clausura, as I said above). That will bring the very skillful striker Alfredo “Chango” Moreno (now over to SL from club America) into the competition–good news for all Copa aficionados.
Mexico 2, as I’ve said, will be Chivas. They will go into a group that includes Lanus. Which could make for some interesting group stage matches there.
And Mexico 3 will be Pachuca. Which brings Pachuca’s formidable veteran Argentine contingent–Gimenez, Alvarez et al.– into the tournament. Again, good news for the competition.
(Hope this sorts things out a bit.)
Off topic. I just saw an article about Matt Gilbert’s hero and the reason why he became a Racing fan: El Turco García!
I thought I’d paste him the link:
http: // www .ole.clarin.com/notas/2009/01/13/
I’m adding spaces just in case the comment doesn’t make it through.
I’m not translating the article, but the headline says: “Someday I’ll manage Racing or Huracán”
I read the interview with El Turco and it’s quite revealing. He admits he had troubles with drugs and was addicted to cocaine.
He tells the story of how he managed to heal and now is helping young kids with drug problems to rehab.
Good luck to him and a big thank you for the memories!
As far as I’m aware Maradona loves Tevez. I really can’t see him being left out of any squads in the short-term future. Whether Tevez stays at United beyond the summer though is another matter entirely. I think he might leave but to where? Who is going to want to pay Joorabchian the extortionate fee he is demanding?