Colón travelled to Victoria on Saturday looking to capitalise after Vélez Sársfield, the league leaders, had lost hours before to Gimnasia in La Plata. The opportunity slipped away from them, though. Tigre won and won well – a thoroughly entertaining match only finished 2-1, but it was a richly deserved win. The club who were only promoted to Primera A two years ago are now closing in on a qualification spot for the Copa Sudamericana. Elsewhere, Newell’s and Banfield drew, Friday saw a partidazo in La Paternal, and River Plate decided that Javier Pastore needed some help to embarrass them. They were wrong.
After seven matches without a win, Tigre lifted themselves off the bottom spot in the Clausura table thanks to two goals from – who else? – Carlos Luna. They hit the post as early as the second minute, through Sebastián Rosano, and dominated the opening exchanges as Colón, not for the first time in recent weeks, struggled away from home. Midway through the first half Luna opened the scoring with a header, and although Alfredo Ramírez hit the post for Colón from outside the box, there was little else for the visitors to get excited about before the break.
The second half was a different matter, with Colón determined to get an equalising goal and doing everything they could to obtain one. Daniel Islas in the Tigre goal was called upon more than once to keep his team in front, making one particularly impressive save from Argentina B squad member Sebastián Prediger. With Colón down to ten men after the 73rd minute sending-off of Alejandro Capurro, Luna doubled his and his team’s tally with six minutes remaining from the penalty spot. Esteban Fuertes pulled one back for Colón (oddly, after his 99th goal last week, the Argentine press don’t seem sure whether Saturday night’s was his 99th or his 100th – good to see record-keeping standards are as high as ever), but it was too little, too late. The win only lifts Tigre to 16th, but the way continental qualification is run means they’re now right on backs of the Copa Sudamericana places in that (separate) table.
Argentinos crashed spectacularly at home to Godoy Cruz in the weekend’s first match, with the mendocinos running out 4-2 winners in La Paternal, five of the match’s six goals coming in the second half. Leandro Caruso scored early on in both halves, before Gabriel Hauche pulled one back for shell-shocked Argentinos just before the hour mark. Víctor Figueroa then put the visitors 3-1 up, Ignacio Canuto made it 2-3 minutes later, and a second from Figueroa put the result beyond doubt late on. In Friday’s other match, Lanús beat Central 2-1 to go top of the table, Sebastián Blanco and Diego Lagos scoring in the second half after Pablo Lima had sent the Rosario side in with the lead at the interval.
They remain top thanks to Vélez’s slip-up in their Saturday afternoon match. Emiliano Papá set up Jonathan Cristaldo for an 18th minute opener, but after that Gimnasia totally outplayed the Liniers side in El Bosque, with Mariano Messera and Sebastián Romero sending them in 2-1 up at the break, and Juan Cuevas getting the third five minutes into the second half.
And the other match so far this weekend. Deary me. River Plate started underwhelmingly away to Huracán, but still held out for 39 minutes before the hosts took the lead through a ferocious long-range drive from Javier Pastore, who looks more and more like a potential ‘next big thing’. Some ridiculously bad defending gave Huracán a second just after the hour, tucked away by Leonardo Medina from Pastore’s cut-back, and Pastore got his second with a cool finish (after more poor defending) with quarter-of-an-hour to go. Late on, it was 4-0, Patricio Toranzo finishing powerfully from the corner of the box after a poorly-cleared corner.
Racing v SMT is a horrible match, very stressful. You can see how important Luguercio is, everything looks pretty aimless without him. But the great thing about the side since Caruso took over is that whenever we win a free kick in their half or a corner, you think something might happen, and once again it did, phew. And at least the team have got ‘huevos’, to recover from an early setback.
I know Seba was hoping for a win, the way Racing are playing, I’d be happy not to lose, SMT can be *very* dangerous on the counter-attack, especially with Perez threatening to come on in the second half. We were lucky not to be 2-0 down.
This despite the fact that they hardly have the ball, and one occasion when they did look like building up an attack from the back, Zuculini was again superb to tackle and break up the move – GRANDE ZUCU!
I *knew* that would happen. There was a weird atmosphere about the match today. I think Racing underestimated San Martín. As soon as I saw Patricio Perez warming up, I had a bad feeling he would have a major impact.
I really hope they switch the fixtures and the Colón-Racing game and SMT-GELP match are on at different times. A Gimnasia win is as important as a Racing one next week.