¡Vélez campeón!

Vélez campeónIn circumstances about as controversial as they come, and after thirteen minutes of second half stoppage time, Vélez Sársfield beat Huracán by a single late goal from Maxi Moralez – who was sent off for his celebration – to climb above them in the table and claim the Torneo Clausura 2009 title. Huracán had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside early on, before the match was almost called off due to a hail storm of Biblical proportions. When play restarted a tense match was deadlocked almost throughout, until Maxi popped up.

The match had started brightly for Huracán, with El Globo getting on the front foot right away against their hosts, in spite of the fact that a draw for Angel Cappa’s Huracán would have seen the championship trophy heading back to Parque Patricios. Eduardo Domínguez thought he’d put Huracán in the driving seat as early as the eighth minute when he headed into an unguarded net, but the linesman decided – completely and obviously incorrectly – that Domínguez had been offside. Injustice for Huracán, but it would get much worse.

Nineteen minutes in, a hailstorm set in that threatened to demolish the Estadio José Amalfitani, never mind make things difficult for the players. Referee Gabriel Brazenas called the players off the pitch and they returned to the dressing rooms for half an hour, during which time it looked like the match might very well be called off – at one point that seemed to be exactly what Angel Cappa thought was happening. In the end, though, with hailstones the size of Volkswagens littering the pitch, the teams returned to the field to play the final 71 minutes.

Huracán’s neat passing game was inevitably disrupted by the surface, and Vélez, used to playing a more direct game and with their home crowd behind them, poured forward. Just five minutes after the match had recommenced, they had a penalty after Carlos Araujo stupidly brought Juan Manuel Martínez down in the box. Rodrigo López placed the penalty firmly to goalkeeper Gastón Monzón’s right – and saw the kick turned round the post. The draw Huracán needed was still very much on. Both sides went close before the break – López having one disallowed correctly for offside, and Matías Defederico flashing a shot just wide of Vélez’s post, but the deadlock remained at the break.

In the second half, both Javier Pastore and Matías Defederico found it difficult to lift themselves above the mire of Huracán’s general performance. Mario Bolatti was keeping Vélez’s midfield at bay superbly, but his team-mates for Huracán couldn’t match his standard. At the base of Vélez’s midfield, Franco Razzotti, who’s been understatedly superb for much of this championship after returning from Sporting Cristal in Peru in January, was doing the same to frustrate Huracán’s attacks, and sending Vélez’s more advanced players forward with frequency.

Seven minutes remained of the ninety when the championship turned. After the earlier controversies over the wrongly disallowed goal and the lingering suspicion that the match really shouldn’t have gone ahead given the condition of the pitch following the hail, all hell broke loose as Vélez countered, Joaquín Larrivey fouled Monzón in the Huracán goal, and former Racing forward Maxi Moralez pounced on the loose ball to stab home. Referee Brazenas saw nothing wrong, and suddenly Vélez were topping the table with just minutes to go.

Moralez tore of his shirt in celebration and received a second yellow card for his troubles, but it was about two minutes before Brazenas showed him the red. Incensed at seeing the championship snatched from their grasp at the death, by a goal which shouldn’t have stood, and after having had a perfectly good one of their own disallowed earlier in the game, Huracán’s bench – substitutes and technical team – made their feelings known and the result was a hold-up which resulted in 13 minutes of stoppage time and the sort of atmosphere which suggested Brazenas and his assistants might not escape the stadium at full time.

When the game got back underway, Huracán attacked desperately and saw a shot saved by Germán Montoya right on the goal line after a hectic scramble in the goalmouth. Vélez broke late on and Larrivey missed a chance to put the match to bed, but ultimately it didn’t matter. Vélez held out, and are the champions of Argentina.

Vélez and Huracán always had what might be termed a ‘minor’ rivalry even before this match, but the encounter was of the sort that can create a new clásico, such was the level of feeling and controversy on both sides, and the circumstances it was played in. Look out for this match-up when the new season’s fixture lists are released, because it’s going to be a very tasty one.

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9 thoughts on “¡Vélez campeón!

  1. I just hope Huracán will have the same sort of team, and they don’t all get signed up by minor German clubs… :-(

    Vélez will get trampled on in the 2010 Copa Libertadores.

    As for Cappa, do you think he’ll ever get the national side job? I never rated him before, always thought he just talked the beautiful game, but with exactly the side that was going nowhere with Ubeda, he’s shown a touch of genius. Imagine him with Tevez, Messi etc (maybe even Riquelme).

  2. Congratulations to Velez Sarfield, thou I think Huracan was the team that better played all through the League.
    Well, then, now, has this damned Clausura finnally ended, once and for all?

  3. Huracan were robbed their rightful trophy.
    That referee is a inept idiot letting the match get stolen by Velez. It would not surprise me if he got bribe money.

    He is so bad he should get a job in England.
    And could be like their ref that gave three yellow cards to the same player at the World Cup.

    No doubt about it Huracan were criminally robbed and to watch Velez celebrate like they won it on actual merit was disgusting beyond words.. I’ll never have a good thing to say about Velez or any of it’s players. A bunch of cheats is all they are.


    1. Absolutely fantastic post joe, agree with every word.

      The game shouldn’t have even been played on that pitch after the hailstorm.

      Cubero is one of the worst cheats in that team, his performance against Racing was a disgrace.

      I didn’t even watch Vélez celebrate, I turned off the stream. Like I do most of the time if Vélez are playing. The only time I ever saw good football from them was against Colón. Otherwise, a horrible, snide and very lucky team.

      Guess we’re all still pretty angry about that fiasco even after 2 days?

  4. Huracán fans to protest in front of AFA headquarters later today.

    A couple of lawyers will press charges against Brazenas! Yes, it may sound crazy, but I think they have a point. Not even a heavy suspension on Brazenas will make up for all the damages (financial and otherwise) that he has caused to the club, the players and fans of Huracán.

    All of this will fall in def ears, of course, but I totally support Huracán’s cause.

    Regarding Cubero…you’ve got to admire him! Only one red card when he averages at least 1 punch or elbow to a rival’s face per game.

    Not to mention he should have been suspended for the final match for the red card he saw against Lanús, but due to a dodgy use of the 225 article (which allows a suspended player to play when a team-mate returns injured from international duty). Apparently, Chilean Waldo Ponce, came back with an injury after the last time he joined the Chile squad.

    What happened during the weekend was a terrible thing for football. No doubt.

    And to think that until their impressive run in the 90s, Velez was a likable team for almost every fan of other teams. They had one only one title until then (1968) and they were respected. But they got so cocky after they won a few things and now nobody can stand them anymore.

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