A Saturday round-up

Vélez will have the chance to move four points clear in the race for the title on Sunday after the other two main contenders, Lanús and Colón, both lost on Saturday. Elsewere it would seem Tolo Gallego’s found Independiente’s best side, and there was a first win in five matches for San Lorenzo, courtesy of a striker their new boss Diego Simeone wanted to buy off them when he in charge of Estudiantes…

In a crucial relegation encounter, Central also beat Gimnasia de Jujuy, leaving the north-westerners all but down and lifting their own points total in the Promedio table level with Racing. This means the Avellaneda side will need at least a point in Sunday’s match with Arsenal to stay clear of the relegation places. Ezequiel González scored the only goal for Central in the 42nd minute, and got himself sent off with nine minutes to go for showing dissent towards referee Javier Collado. He couldn’t have got himself suspended at a worse time – the man of the match this week, he’ll have to watch next week’s clásico against Newell’s from the stands.

Independiente look much improved from recent form though, and after playing hardball with some of the squad and trying to change the way the side are set up, Américo Gallego got a response in a 4-1 battering of Tigre, who for the second year running are failing to follow up an impressive Apertura with an equally good showing in the Clausura. Leonel Ríos opened the scoring for El Rojo eleven minutes before the break, and by the time the interval had arrived the lead had already been doubled through Darío Gandín. In the second half, a double strike from Daniel Montenegro sandwiched by a consolation from Carlos Luna completed the scoring.

Lanús and Colón’s missed opportunities came at home to Estudiantes and away to Argentinos Juniors, respectively. In El Sur it took 38 minutes for the visitors to open the scoring through Mauro Boselli, but after the break Federico Fernández (just after the hour mark) and Raúl Iberbia on the stroke of full time completed a victory for Alejandro Sabella’s men. In La Paternal, Argentinos continued to improve following their 4-1 mauling at the hands of Huracán a couple of rounds ago, beating Colón 2-0 with goals from Ignacio Canuto early on, and Gabriel Hauche halfway through the second half.

And Diego Simeone appears to have decided that the only way to get Gonzalo Bergessio in his team was to become manager of the club he already played for. It’s a gamble that’s paid off in only his second match in charge of El Cuervo. Away to Gimnasia La Plata, they were losing 1-0 with ten minutes left on the clock, Rubén Maldonado’s strike in the 52nd minute looking like the decider. In the 81st, Fabián Bordagaray levelled things up and, a minute into stoppage time, Bergessio won the game for San Lorenzo. Simeone’s unbeaten in two matches in charge now, so some of the bronca of Racing’s late equaliser last weekend will have lifted a little.

4 thoughts on “A Saturday round-up

  1. A fantastic evening – the sun is shining and Racing have scored three goals in one half!!!

    It’s quite frustrating trying to follow it on the stream – you get to watch five or six minutes before every 30 second freeze. Which means I *missed* the clearly wonderful reception the Racing fans gave the team when they ran out (judging from the papelitos) and also missed the first goal.

    But I am hugely encouraged by most of what I’m seeing:

    *No Castroman

    *Grazzini and Ramírez are combining superbly (I still haven’t seen the first goal, even on half-time round up, because of the freezes, but the commentators were comparing their combination to a Barcelona goal!!!) I’ve been waiting for ages to see Ramírez properly.

    *Zuculini is already way too good for this league, but Racing are extremely lucky to have him at such a difficult time

    * Sava is finished, Aveldano is having no trouble at all handling him

    * Brian Lluy is a lively looking attacking full back who could create goals, even though he’s not the most secure defensively.

    *Matias Martínez is a goal machine ja ja ja!

    GRANDE RACING! Can’t wait for the second half, hope I get to see all of it :-)

  2. And even Castromán scored at the end!!!!

    Looking forward to Seba’s comments. Looks like Caruso is really turning things round. You can say that Aveldano, Martínez and Grazzini are *his* players for a start, and hopefully he’s seeing the light about my unfavourite player, goal notwithstanding…

    And Godoy Cruz are below us right now, Vamos Huracán!

  3. It took me a while to find the time to write about our last match and our present.

    Here I am.

    The first thing I want to say is that I think I did say it in this space right after we lost to Independiente (week 3 of the Clausura), that Caruso’s appointment, regardless of the results, would be good for Racing to be back in the headlines.

    After a great production of 5 wins, 3 draws and only 1 defeat in Caruso’s first 9 matches, the one thing that really stands out is Racing’s heavy presence in the media again.

    Racing is not shrinking anymore, like we were under Blanquiceleste.

    You turn on the TV and there’s an interview with Caruso. Change the channel and you see Lugüercio. Wait one hour and you see Migliore (even though I really dislike his personality). Keep zapping through channels and there’s Franco Sosa, or Zuculini, or Yacob…

    Racing is back to a level of exposure that was sadly lost before Caruso. Yes, you saw the occasional Llop interview, but the interest shown by the media (or even we as audience) was not even remotely close to today’s standards.

    That thing translates to the players and especially the fans. You see the confidence with which our (mostly mediocre) players are performing and suddenly you feel you can beat anyone.

    With so many results going our way in the last few weeks, Racing showed yesterday that they can play better and they can do more than just sit back and defend.

    What’s more important, our rivals are not coming to Avellaneda (or playing us at their stadiums) with the conviction they will get all three points. Now they know that if they want to do that, they are really going to have to sweat and fight and even if they do that in good amounts, they may just end up with empty hands.

    I think we could be the most unwanted rivals for Velez and their undefeated campaign on Saturday. I don’t feel the pressure is ours this time (even though we are far from being saved). And that’s a great feeling to have.

    Regarding the points you made, Matt.

    Here are my thoughts:

    1. The reception was great, but it could have been much better. The amount of papelitos was provided by a couple of papelitos-blowing machines. Sort of a fireworks’ machine that only fired papelitos and kept them in the air for several minutes. I didn’t like it. It was really artificial. I’ve been told they have the same thing at La Bombonera. I don’t like it.

    Also…there was a huge additional fee each Racing fan had to pay for this match. The club was running a sort of reverse marketing strategy and they labelled Sunday as “Club’s day”. So…basically, each paying member had to pay 20 pesos for a match they normally attend for free (given that they pay their monthly membership fee). If you were not a member, then you had to pay 50 pesos for a terrace ticket. 50 pesos is A LOT of money for Argentina these days. I know a few fellow Racing fans who were put out by those prizes.

    The club collected half a million pesos with this strategy, but the fans have been milked BIG TIME.

    2. I like Grazzini. He is not afraid to hold on to the ball and his distribution is good. He is obviously not at the top of his fitness, but I like to see a player who can actually handle the ball and the organizational duties.

    3. Ramírez had a great game and scored a typical centre-forward kind of goal. Chesting it down, finishing first touch to the far post. That was class. Great to see him starting for the first time. For the record…he was slightly off-side, but nothing to make a scandal about. Just a tad.

    4. Zuculini? I think he was one of the main reasons why we had such a terrible start of this Clausura. The injury he picked up playing for the U20s ended up being long-term and we suffered big time due to his absence. He is a MONSTER. He’ll be a huge huge star. Yesterday, he played a flawless game. Everything he did was right and on time. I love him as if he was my family!

    5. Our central defenders work so good together. I don’t trust a pair of CB at Racing since the days of Fabbri and Costas in the late 80s. The reason being mainly Ubeda, who played as one of our CB for the best part of the 90s! How bad he was??? hahaha!

    That’s all for now. I’ll probably be back with more!

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