The Torneo Clausura now has just three matches remaining – the final relegation clashes and the title decider, a preview of which you can hear, if you’ve not already, over on the Mundo Albiceleste podcast from earlier in the week. Argentina’s representatives for the Copa Sudamericana are all confirmed after Saturday’s matches, and for once at least that competition doesn’t seem like a complete irrelevance: Tigre, for the first time, will get a shot at some richly deserved continental competition. Elsewhere, various River Plate players said goodbye with a loss to a Copa Libertadores-distracted Estudiantes.
Tigre signed off with a win to end a dissapointing six months in the Clausura, and thus secured qualification – largely thanks to their Torneo Apertura performance – for the 2009 Copa Sudamericana. Carlos Luna, as so often, got the ball rolling for Tigre away to Banfield five minutes before half time, and with the hosts playing ineptly the necessary damage was done before the break, Ariel Broggi turning into his own net to double the visitors’ lead. Sebastián Rosano made it three in the 53rd minute, and although Tigre had Jonathan Blanco sent off two minutes later they held on comfortably.
In Rosario, Godoy Cruz ended a great campaign with a 1-0 win over Central, who were already thinking about the relegation playoff with Belgrano de Córdoba which they’ll have to endure the first leg of on Wednesday to retain their place in the Primera. Halfway through the first half Iván Borghello – formerly of Central’s city rivals Newell’s – scored the only goal of the game, and Kily González missed a penalty for the hosts in the second half.
Boca Juniors beat Colón de Santa Fe easily in El Cementerio, but had to come from behind in the second half. Germán Rivarola put Colón into the lead six minutes before the interval, and Boca’s cause wasn’t helped when Juan Román Riquelme saw red in the 51st minute for mouthing off at the referee. Martín Palermo equalised shortly after that, though, before Boca debutant Nicolás Colazo helped to create two for his team in the space of a minute – Sebastián Battaglia put them into the lead in the 68th minute, and Palermo doubled his tally in the 69th.
River Plate ended another poor campaign on a low note, losing 2-1 at home to an Estudiantes side packed with substitutes in preparation for the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which will be played on Wednesday night. José Luis Calderón put Estudiantes into the lead 25 minutes in, with young defender Marcos Rojo putting them 2-0 up five minutes into the second half. Diego Buonanotte, who was among those possibly playing his last match for River (for now), got one back in the 65th minute to make a contest of the second half, but he, Paulo Ferrari and Radamel Falcao García, look like they’re saying farewell to El Monumental on a losing note.
And San Lorenzo de Almagro claimed the easiest win of the weekend so far against a poor Argentinos Juniors team. Gonzalo Bergessio scored twice – in the 15th and 56th minutes – and Juan Manuel Torres once in the 75th to secure Los Santos‘ place in the Copa Sudamericana in a few months. The qualifiers for that competition are all now confirmed: San Lorenzo, Tigre, Vélez Sársfield and Lanús all qualify by virtue of their league position, whilst River Plate and Boca Juniors will feature for the last time purely by virtue of being River Plate and Boca Juniors – from 2010 onwards the ‘invitations’ for those two will be withdrawn and they’ll have to qualify properly along with the riff-raff.