Pepe's done it again
Pepe's done it again

The first (and more important) of the weekend’s two clásicos was Saturday’s first match, and it saw Lanús extend their lead at the top of the table, thus ensuring they’ll finish the weekend top of the table. Elsewhere, Newell’s won at the Nuevo Gasómetro in a clash of two sides scrambling for Copa Sudamericana qualification, and Estudiantes edged out Argentinos in a five-goal thriller. Friday night’s matches both saw away wins.

Lanús won away to Banfield in the 2007 Apertura, the last (and so far only) time they were crowned champions, with two goals from José Sand. Today, the same player scored the only goal, chesting the ball over the line after twenty-eight minutes from a Maxi Velázquez cross. Prior to the goal Banfield had by and large had the better of the play, but in one fatal minute they lost the match. Maximiliano Bustos was off the pitch being attended to for a knock he’d (unintentionally) been dealt by Matías Fritzler when the goal was scored. He immediately raced back onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee as to why Fritzler hadn’t been punished, and was himself shown a red card for his troubles.

After that, Banfield threw everything but the kitchen sink at their visitors, but in spite of a second half of enormous pressure which could have made spectators forget the missing player, they couldn’t come away with anything. For Lanús, it’s a win which will allow them to watch Sunday’s matches with their feet up. Four games still remain, but whatever happens in Liniers and Santa Fe, the Granate will still be top come Sunday night.

In Boedo, San Lorenzo hosted a Newell’s side battling closely with them for a place in the Copa Sudamericana. The game was still deadlocked at half time but it was the rosarinos who won out in the end, taking the lead through Mauricio Sperdutti just three minutes after the break and thus blowing Diego Simeone’s team-talk to the home side to pieces almost instantly. Just after the hour mark, Alejandro Da Silva put the game beyond doubt for Newell’s.

Also on Saturday, Estudiantes were 2-0 up at half time and looking comfortable against Argentinos in La Plata, thanks to two goals from Enzo Pérez (the second right on the stroke of half time). It took seconds for the visitors to get back into the game through Gabriel Hauche, and just three minutes after that the score was 2-2, Nico Pavlovich getting the equaliser. The scoring wasn’t over though – Pérez completed his hat trick in the 61st minute, and El Pincha won out.

Friday night’s matches saw wins for both the visiting sides, with Gimnasia de Jujuy grabbing the only goal of the game against Arsenal through Héctor Silva, and Tigre beating Godoy Cruz with goals from Néstor Ayala and – can you guess? – Carlos Luna.

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12 thoughts on “Sand-tastic

  1. The replays have shown that Sand didn’t touch the ball, Velázquez’s curled in on its own, so a bit cheeky of Pepe to celebrate like that!
    Although Bossio had to make some pretty good saves (the one he turned onto the post was terrific) and Lanús scrambled the ball away at times, they could have won more easily had Salvio been more accurate with his shooting… one of his shots is now pursuing the International Space Station in orbit…

    Another fantastic game involving Huracán. Everyone raved about them last week, but I did wonder whether it was an exaggeration as River were so poor, but Central on their own ground are a lot tougher and more competitive, yet Huracán still whirled round them like against training cones. It’s like the famed rotating ‘total football’ of the 1970s, during one amazing passing move I saw González playing left back and Domínguez in central midfield. I think Central found it impossible to play against until Huracán wobbled in the last ten minutes.

    I honestly don’t think they can overhaul Lanús in the last four games, though. Huracán play fantasy football, maybe Caruso’s Racing play what critics call ‘anti-football’ but we Racing fans don’t care, as long as it wins – and there is a place for both styles of play! I actually think football would be dull if *every* team played like Huracán, as it would no longer be special.

    But the team that wins the title will be the side that best combines both styles of play… I think Vélez are battlers who can turn on the style, Lanús are stylists who are finally learning to battle, and whichever one makes the best combination over the next month will win.

    I think Huracán will fade and finish third or fourth, but still tremendous when you think back to the defensive shambles Ubeda presided over when losing to the likes of Jujuy, for example.

    Nervous about tonight already, I wish Racing and SMT-GELP weren’t the last two matches, it’ll be hard to concentrate on the so-called clásicos before.

  2. A great great immense point for Racing tonight!

    Especially with Gimnasia winning in Tucumán (I didn’t expect that!) and Central losing to Huracán at home.

    We needed to separate ourselves more than three points from Central because they are visiting Independiente next week and it wouldn’t be the first time the rojos could roll over and die if that result hurts Racing.

    Racing were awful tonight, but could have won it with that bomb from Zuculini that exploded in the post and Lluy couldn’t send it home on the rebound.

    Zuculini is getting better and better. There’s no limits for him.

    Schaffer, on the other hand, is incredibly thick and one of the most stupid players I’ve ever seen (Franco Sosa is another, but they both are still trailing the helpless Manicero who reasonably enough is nowhere to be seen this days).

    A great weekend in terms of results if we add Banfield’s defeat against Lanús.

    Los Tucumanos travel to La Bombonera next. A Racing win at La Plata would almost see us safe from straight relegation and will send us very near salvation even from la promoción.

  3. Oh…and we need to improve our shooting a little bit more (or our luck).

    We have hit the post three times in the last three matches and all of those chances would have given us points.

    Castromán v. Velez (we would have get all three points instead of 1).

    That freaky free-kick near the end of the game vs. San Martín. It would have been a draw instead of a loss.

    And Zuculini’s effort tonight (2 more points).

    The post (always the low right post from an attacking point of view and always in the second half) has denied us from a total of 5 points.


  4. Good comments Seba. I’m at least pleased that Caruso has managed to perfect the art of winning points ugly. It’s the only way this team’s going to do it, leave the fancy football to Angel Cappa, he couldn’t manage it at Racing, and Caruso’s approach is what’s needed right now.

    To be fair to Franco Sosa, he’s like one of those American footballers they bring on to take kicks, he is undoubtedly a dangerous dead-ball expert who’s won vital points with that ability. Let’s say the goals against Central and a year ago against Arsenal are worth six points, without which Central would be above us! Not sure anyone else in the squad could have scored those goals.

    Whether that entitles him to fill a space in the team is a matter for debate, as he’s nothing special in any other aspect of the game. But at least he isn’t Manicero ha ha.

    The Gimnasia result was immense, hopefully that will be the end of San Martín de Tucumán. Vélez should finish off Jujuy on Sunday, so direct relegation will be out, and then Jujuy will hopefully have given up by the time Racing visit.

    And don’t forget Godoy Cruz, they still need at least three points to be safe from la promo. If they lose the next three, the final game between Central and them could be a no-lose for Racing, as any result would see one of them drop or stay below us!

    Oh, another thing, how come the commentators enjoyed River-Independiente so much? I thought it was a poor game between two sides low on confidence, making too many mistakes. Barado’s goal looked good on TV, but where in world-class football would someone be allowed to run so far without any decent challenge?
    The penalties were a joke, though I felt a bit sorry for Falcao, the pitch looked in a terrible state. The commentator mentioned something about a concert, how desperate must River be for cash to risk wrecking their pitch to hold concerts in the football season? Who was playing, Turf? (bad joke).
    But I thought the game was pretty poor, nothing on the excitement of Lanús and then Huracán the previous night, or even the GC-Tigre match.
    Independiente will be hammered by Central next weekend, they are hopeless.

  5. Matthew, as far as your first point in your first post is concerned, there’s a far more important issue: Pepe’s caused me to waste a perfectly good pun in my headline!

    You’re being far too kind to the River – Independiente match, though. I’m enjoying a quite magnificent novel at the moment (‘2666’ by Roberto Bolaño. I recommend it to everyone) and was so engrossed I missed the first half, watched the second without any commentary (my brother was watching TV in the same room) and it was absolutely dire.

    And Seba, adding points for goals missed is never an exact science, but you’re quite right Racing need to finish better. Shaffer, though – I’ve got him playing for me in the Colombian second division on Football Manager and he’s doing a grand job! Evidently found his level…

  6. Sam- off topic, but also try “The Savage Detectives” by Bolano. I just picked up (it was heavy !) “2666” the other day. Futbol and great literature. Another reason to visit HEGS.:)

  7. I’ll definitely be reading that and some of his others after this (and all the other books I’ve got to get through) Johnny. You’ll love 2666, it’s absolutely amazing, one of the best novels I’ve ever read – if I really knuckle down I might just manage to finish it today (140 pages to go…).

  8. Looks like we are many Bolaño fans here!
    I’m affraid we are turning a little away from the topic, but I’d like to recommend HEGS two more excellent books by the same author: “Nocturno in Chile” (a short novel) and “Telephone calls” (short stories).
    Also I recommend every Boca fan, these days, and until the end of the League, the complete works of D.T.Suzuki about buddhism and the developement of vitues like patiente and non violent acts, including the beauties of meditation.

  9. Ha ha ! Yes, Bostero Forever, I will begin to work on my mantra right away. And. possibly ask my physician for a major tranquilizer.

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