It’s not too often I write one of these covering midweek matches, but Wednesday 13th May was a bit of a high watermark for Argentine representatives in foreign football this season. The Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League, as well as the national cup finals in both Spain and Italy, all had important contributions from Argentines, as did the English Premier League, which is now virtually certain to remain with Manchester United. So to mark Argentina’s ‘Day of the Footballer’ (14th May, in honour of Ernesto Grillo’s spectacular equalising goal as Argentina came from behind to record their first win against a visiting England in a friendly at a packed Estadio Monumental), here’s a special AA.
In the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, Atlante got a 0-0 draw which, combined with their 2-0 first leg victory over fellow Mexicans Cruz Azul, gave them the trophy and the right to represent North America in the United Arab Emirates in December’s Club World Cup. Goalkeeper Federico Vilar was man of the match, pulling off a particularly memorable save ten minutes before the break from Paraguayan Christian Riveros. There was only one video of this match on YouTube, not involving any highlights and shot from the crowd, so nothing to see here I’m afraid.
In the Copa, there will definitely be at least one Argentine in the semi-finals. Striker Darío Figueroa got the ball rolling by opening the scoring from the penalty spot for Caracas FC, who overcame a 2-1 first leg deficit against Deportivo Cuenca with a resounding 4-0 win at home (and if you only watch one of these videos, make it this one, because a couple of Caracas’s other two were beauties). Later on, Germán Herrera scored in Grêmio’s 2-0 home win over River Plate’s group stage conquerors Universidad San Martín de Porres, of Peru. After the 3-1 win in the first leg (in which former River striker Maxi López, who’s one day older than yours truly, scored), this sees them through. Figueroa will face off with Maxi and Herrera in the quarter-finals.
The final of the Coppa Italia went to penalties, and was won by Lazio, who beat Sampodoria in the shootout 6-5. The match itself saw the Romans take the lead after only 4 minutes thanks to a breathtaking solo effort from former Vélez Sársfield prodigy Mauro Zárate, who carried the ball past a couple of challenges on the left touchline before cutting inside and slamming it in at the near post. Zárate was later named man of the match, and the trophy’s a fitting reward for what’s been a superb debut season in Serie A. Those goals are here.
Another cup final was being played in Europe on the same night, and it was a rather more comfortable affair for the victors. Barcelona fell behind to Athletic Bilbao, but rallied and claimed their 25th Copa del Rey with goals from Toure Yaya, Bojan Krkic, Daniel Alves and – but of course – the gran figura of their season, little Lionel Messi. You can see all the goals on on this video.
And in England, ‘Sir Charles’ Tevez continues to enjoy a Lady Diana-like existence. The public love him but a bunch of stuffy rich people in a high box appear to be less enamoured, you see. Oh, never mind. Anyway, he came off the bench with half an hour remaining of Manchester United’s possibly title-losing 1-0 away defeat to Wigan Athletic, and immediately turned it into Manchester United’s probably title-winning 2-1 away win over Wigan Athletic. Three minutes after taking to the pitch he hit an absolutely outrageous backheeled goal to level things up and set the scene for Michael Carrick’s late winner. Both of those goals, plus Colombian Hugo Rodallega’s opener for the hosts, are here.
Don’t forget to email me your nominations for this year’s HEGS / Mundo Albiceleste award for Best Argentine Abroad.