Argentines Abroad – 23rd & 24th May 2009

The final full-length Argentines Abroad of 2008-2009 comes with just a day and a half left for you to get your nominations in for the HEGS / Mundo Albiceleste award for the Best Argentine Abroad of the season that’s now finishing. So far we’ve had relatively few nominations in, so if you’d like your favourite player in the final five send his name to – one more mention might be enough to get him nominated. Voting closes at midnight Argentine time on Wednesday night (4am Thursday British Summer Time). And now, on with the lowdown…

In Portugal, Ernesto Farías scored the goal which saw champions Porto draw 1-1 with Braga. Farías ends the season with the terrifying statistic of having scored ten goals in 896 minutes – slightly better than one per game. Lisandro López, who for the last few years has been heralded by all and sundry as the best striker in Portugal, has ten goals from 2,237 minutes. He played this weekend, as did Mariano González and Tomás Costa. Meanwhile, Leandro Romagnoli got a rare goal with a  90th minute penalty as Sporting ended the season on a high, beating Nacional de Madeira 3-1.

Moving along the Iberian peninsula, Lionel Messi was rested along with practically everyone else in Barcelona’s first eleven in preparation for tomorrow’s European Cup final. On Sunday Real Madrid’s final home game of the season ended in a 3-1 loss to Málaga in front of their own fans, but not before Gonzalo Higuaín had put them 1-0 up in the 20th minute, his 20th league goal this season in his 100th appearance for Madrid (since he joined them. He’s not played 100 matches this season). Down in Seville, former Morón player Diego Perotti scored the only goal as Sevilla beat Deportivo de La Coruña 1-0, before mumbling something about having dreamed about this when he was small.

In England, the Premier League season ended with mixed emotions for the Argentine representatives. Three of the four European Cup qualifiers have Argentines in their squad (Carlos Tevez at Manchester United, Javier Mascherano and Emiliano Insúa at Liverpool, and Franco Di Santo at Chelsea), but all three of the relegated sides do as well. Julio Arca‘s Middlesbrough are down after eleven years thanks to a 2-1 defeat away to West Ham United, Juan Carlos Menseguez‘s West Brom have been doomed for ages (but Monday night saw confirmation that his loan deal is to be made permanent), and Newcastle United were also relegated with Jonás Gutiérrez on the bench and Fabricio Coloccini – held up as a symptom of the club’s problems by one columnist on Monday – on the pitch. They lost 1-0 to Aston Villa.

In Serie A, Diego Milito scored two more for Genoa, including an 89th minute winner, as they beat Torino 3-2 away from home. Milito finishes the season with an amazing 24 goals from 31 club appearances. Elsewhere, Jesús Dátolo (in the first half) and Germán Denis (in the second) came off the bench for Napoli, who lost 3-1 away to Catania. Champions Internazionale also lost away, 2-1 to Cagliari, with Nico Burdisso, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Julio Cruz all playing from the start.

And elsewhere in Europe: Martín Demichelis‘s Bayern München beat Stuttgart 2-1 but it wasn’t enough to defend the Bundesliga title they won last season, thanks to Wolfsburg’s 5-1 demolition job against Werder Bremen. Andrés D’Alessandro’s former club take the title. In the final of the Belgian league, a 1-0 win in the second leg after the first had finished 1-1 gave Standard Liege their tenth title ahead of Anderlecht, for whom Lucas Biglia played. Hernán Losada, Nicolás Frutos and Matías Suárez didn’t.

And in Mexico, Pachuca are in the final after a nailbiting 4-3 aggregate win over Indios de Juárez. After winning the first leg 2-0 in Juárez, they lost Sunday’s match 3-2 at home. Ezequiel Maggiolo put the visitors 3-1 up on the night (making it 3-3 on aggregate) with eight minutes left, before Panamanian Blas Pérez – who HEGS readers with long memories might remember as the man whose call-up to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and subsequent exclusion from the second leg of Deportivo Cúcuta’s Copa Libertadores semi-final lineup, so aided Boca Juniors a couple of years ago – struck in the last minute to send the hosts through.

‘Chaco’ Giménez‘s form has been brilliant all season and he’s deservedly been called up to the national side. He set Pachuca’s first up early on from a corner, but it was a nice combination between his two compatriots Damián Álvarez and Gabriel Caballero which set Pérez up for the ‘winner’. Pachuca now take on Martín Bravo‘s Pumas in the final.

Thanks as ever to Tom Clark for getting the Mexican news to me, on this occasion in the face of great adversity

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