It’s been a busy few days for Sergio Batista’s Under 20 team in Venezeula whilst I’ve been away. Two more group matches have yielded four points in spite of underwhelming performances – you can see highlights of both games here. In Mar del Plata on Saturday, Boca Juniors beat River Plate in the year’s first superclásico in spite of going down to ten men and then falling a goal behind. And that wasn’t the only friendly being played…
Argentina started the weekend off, on Friday, with a 2-1 victory over Peru in spite of going behind to a Luis Trujilo free kick after just three minutes. Jonathan Cristaldo got the equaliser and Eduardo Salvio hit the winner. On Sunday evening, they played Colombia, knowing that a win would see them qualify for the second round, and had to make do with a 2-2 draw.
Marco Pérez but the cafeteros up with the third early goal Argentina have conceded in as many matches – this one after just 50 seconds. As Checho‘s boys went in search of the equaliser, Salvio and Cristaldo weren’t linking up properly, and after 24 minutes a counter-attack saw Pérez put Colombia 2-0 up.
Shortly after that, Batista sent on Leandro Velázquez, a forward, to replace defensive midfielder Ezequiel Benavídez. Velázquez paid back his boss’s faith, slamming in a left-footed volley on 34 minutes to pull it back to 2-1. In the second half Argentina were much better, and Salvio headed the equaliser after a cross from Velázquez, but the team’s legs were too far gone to continue pushing for a winner. On Tuesday they’ll play Ecuador, joint group leaders with Argentina and Colombia on 5 points, for a place in the next round.
In Mardel on Saturday, River and Boca both put out full-strength sides. There is after all no such thing as a ‘friendly’ between these teams, even where meaningless pre-season matches are concerned. Pipo Gorosito surprised some by opting for a more solid defensive set-up for River, with Facundo Quiroga playing between the defence and the midfield to deal with Boca’s creative players.
In the first half Sebastián Battaglia was sent off for Boca and just a minute later, Gustavo Cabral headed River in front. That should have been the point at which the Núñez side took control, but instead Boca’s ten men came back, regaining parity through Jesús Dátolo. In the second half, with a 4-3-2, they were solid and patient in control of the ball as usual, and Dátolo hit what proved to be the winner for his second of the game.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Lanús have beaten Aldosivi 2-1 with a goal from Diego Lagos and an own goal from the hosts in Mardel from Darío Cajaravilla. Also in Mar del Plata, at the Kimberley club (from whom the French national team borrowed those famous green-and-white-striped shirts during the 1978 World Cup) Tigre beat Racing 2-0, Leonel Altobelli scoring both goals.
Gimnasia La Plata beat Cadetes de San Martín 9-0. Diego Villar scored four and Roberto Sosa three, with Ariel Agüero and Teté González getting the others. And San Lorenzo drew 1-1 with San Martín d Tucumán (Diego Rivero for San Lorenzo; Mario Turdó for San Martín) to go with their 1-0 defeat to Independiente in the Torneo de Verano on Friday night, when Daniel Montenegro scored the game’s only goal.
Argentina Under 20s 2 – 1 Peru Under 20s
Argentina Under 20s 2 – 2 Colombia Under 20s