Championship form at La Academia

Simeone watches as his new charges continue to disappoint
Simeone watches as his new charges continue to disappoint

The weekend’s clásico in the Nuevo Gasómetro was one, like last week’s super, in which a certain amount was lacking. Both sides seemed as preoccupied with guarding their own goal as each other, and less so with trying to score for themselves. An incredible finale, though, saw Racing snatch an equaliser from the jaws of the final whistle through a player a lot of their fans hadn’t heard of a few weeks ago, just as San Lorenzo thought they’d finally kept a clean sheet in this Clausura. It’s a point that’s all the more valuable for Racing after Banfield’s defeat of Gimnasia La Plata on Friday night.

After Racing ‘striker’ Lucas Castromán had given a superb demonstration of how to completely and totally screw up decent goalscoring chances, it seemed that any chance of a goal in Boedo had gone. Racing had had the better of the possession against San Lorenzo, even as Diego Simeone made his managerial debut in charge of the hosts against his old club, but couldn’t find a way to extend their recent run of three consecutive wins.

Then, with nine minutes of the ninety to go, Santiago Solari crashed a shot into the top corner of the Racing goal to perk his new manager – and former team-mate for the selección and Internazionale – up somewhat. San Lorenzo closed out the match, and four minutes of injury time were signalled. In the fifth minute of injury time (what’s this – a refereeing decision going Racing’s way?) Racing won a corner. Goalkeeper Pablo Migliore came up for it, and amid the confusion it was young centre back Matías Martínez who headed home.

Racing’s run of three wins on the trot has ended, but incredibly they’re now six matches unbeaten. Of the three title contenders, both Lanús and Colón have lost since Racing last did, and if leaders Vélez fail to beat Colón in Santa Fe on Sunday, they’ll have fewer points than Racing from the last six rounds.

Gimnasia La Plata, who lost at Banfield on Friday night 3-1, will have been looking on in hope and seen those wishes crushed as Martínez headed home for Racing. With Boca expected to field an inexperienced side away to Central in Rosario tomorrow, El Lobo need as many of their relegation rivals as possible to slip up. On Friday they took an early lead through Diego Villar, but were pegged back within ten minutes by Sebastián Fernández before Santiago Silva scored twice in the second half to win the game for Banfield.

Elsewhere so far this weekend, Arsenal drew 1-1 with San Martín de Tucumán, Cristian Pellerano scoring in first half stoppage time for the hosts and Matías Urbano levelling up for San Martín, and Tigre fell 1-0 to Huracán in Victoria, Juan Carlos Blengio seeing red halfway through the second half for the hosts. César González had already scored the winner for Huracán by that point, ten minutes before the break. I haven’t forgotten Estudiantes’ match against Newell’s (1-0 to the hosts as I type), but I’ve been rather unwell today so I’m going to bed now.

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7 thoughts on “Championship form at La Academia

  1. Hi everyone! Been crazy busy lately and now I’m at home with the flu.

    It doesn’t matter, I’m as happy as camera-lover Migliore would be at the Big Brother’s house!

    An interesting match to analyse (from Racing’s point of view), since I don’t think we were as horrible as we’ve been in the past in this kind of away clásicos. No, don’t get me wrong, we’re still a pretty poor and very boring team to watch, but I don’t think our performance was as bad as last week’s vs. Banfield.

    We played a rather decent first half and then yes, we committed our usual sin of dropping back and waiting for our rivals to miss the dozen chances we give them.

    We weren’t hanging on to three points this time…it could have (should have) costed us much more when Solari scored that cracking goal and yet, for some inexplicable reason, everything went our way.

    When Gonzalez hit that corner kick, the ball wasn’t even placed within the area marked for that particular action.

    I was at a bar (feeling horrible with a sore throat) and I didn’t realise how many of the men around me supported Racing until that 5th injury time minute. The problem was that one fan with a radio, completely spoiled that moment and took away all the suspense and the sheer emotion. Radio waves always arrive earlier than the TV signal. So Gonzalez was about to take that corner kick and this fan, two tables to the right, started shouting: “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! VAMOS RACING!” and so I got distracted by him, turn to the right and when I looked back at the TV, I saw a guy in a blue shirt dive to hit the ball and send it home.

    I think it took me another 30 or 40 seconds to finally realised of what had just happened. I was mad (still am) at that fan. He should have kept his mouth shut until we all saw the images and then celebrate with us. I guess I can’t blame him even though I know I would have stayed quited, probably punching the air under my table or something. Emotions surely took the best out of him, but he stole that precious moment from me and confused me big time in the process!

    Hey…forgive my rant…it’s been a long time since I last had to complain about a result. I need something to be mad about!

  2. Speaking of Gimnasia…man…just how cursed are they?

    One of the oldest clubs in the country never to win a professional championship. They share a small city with a team that won 3 Libertadores and beat United at Old Trafford in 68 to win the Intercontinental Cup. They lost 7-0 in a derby match the season Estudiantes had an incredible comeback to chase Boca and then beat them in the final. They missed out on the chance to win two league titles in the final round of those respective seasons.

    Now they started this Clausura brightly, were winning games and helping their own cause until they entered this horrible series of results, starting with a goal conceded in the 5th minute of injury time against bitter rivals Estudiantes, in a derby they deserved to win.

    They were unlucky not to leave El Monumental without all three points. Went ahead against fellow relegation strugglers Rosario Central at home and an almost retired Kily Gonzalez equalised near the end with a shot from outside the box.

    On Friday, they went up 1-0 away to Banfield and deserved to scored a couple more within the first 15 minutes. Then they suffered a comeback by a team that had failed to scored in the previous three matches. On top of that, Santiago Silva (a former Gimnasia player) scored a brace and Gimnasia lost Diego Villar (their goalscorer on Friday) for the rest of the season after he did his knee ligaments.

    If they are not the most unlucky team in the history of football…then I don’t know which club is!

    I hope they avoid relegation. Their fans deserve better.

  3. I agree Seba, GELP are my second-favourite Argentine club, I love the fact that many fans wear Racing shirts to Gimnasia matches and Gimnasia shirts to Racing games.

    Hopefully even this relegation battle doesn’t spoil the amistad, and both clubs can survive.
    I remember Gimnasia’s near misses in the 90s, one was because of losing to Independiente :(
    I was listening to Radio Nacional’s coverage of the San Lorenzo-Rosario match and flashes to GELP-Amargos on a crackly shortwave radio (no internet in those days!) and really wanted Gimnasia to do it, sadly not to be.

    And of course they did so well under Troglio with players like Lucas Lobos, shame it has fallen apart so badly.

    Silva showed no class celebrating his goals like that – I thought players in Argentina had an unwritten rule not to celebrate against former sides, and only those with NO CLASS (Lucchetti) did so?
    Mind you, Silva is from Uruguay, maybe they don’t have that rule. But I’m not keen on Banfield, mainly because of Lucchetti. Did you know he’s actually created his own ‘official’ website, he clearly thinks he has the status of someone like Leo Messi or Thierry Henry, hahaha.

    As for Racing, I’m amused by Sam’s description of Castroman as a ‘striker’ in commas ha ha.
    I really hope he doesn’t play again, what is wrong with Ruben Ramirez that Caruso doesn’t try him?

    I’m sick of Castroman and I think he is a liability in the battle against relegation. If he had been on the pitch to take that corner, it would probably have finished among the San lorenzo fans and Racing would’ve lost.

    But Racing didn’t lose, which is great, and next week’s match at home to Arsenal should be one to win. I still think we need to overhaul Banfield because San Martin de Tucuman are dangerous. But by the same token, I can see Godoy Cruz losing a few now with tough matches coming up, hopefully they can be dragged into it.

  4. I was impressed by Velez’s second half performance.

    Just watch that chested assist by Nani to Hernán Lopez for Velez’s 4th in an amazing 4-2 comeback win by Gareca’s team.

    Brilliant stuff!

  5. Things are tense at the Monumental tonight as the natives are restless. River’s players were whistled off the pitch at half. Security has been increased in and outside the stadium. Maybe Gorosito will get a haircut after all.

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