It was a mixed week for Argentines in England – Pablo Zabaleta was sent off and Carlos Tevez had to toil on his own up front as Manchester City could only draw 1-1 with Wigan Athletic, and Javier Mascherano and Emiliano Insúa’s Liverpool lost in circumstances which were either hilarious or exasperating depending on your sympathies. There was some good, though: Franco Di Santo scored for Blackburn as they won their first derby in 43 years against Burnley. Elsewhere around the world, he was joined by other Argentines on the scoresheets.
In Spain, Lionel Messi – the only Argentine on the list of nominees for the Balon d’Or – for once had a quiet game as Barcelona drew 0-0 away to Valencia. Over in the capital though, Real Madrid kept hot on the leaders’ heels with a 4-2 win over Real Valladolid in which Gonzalo Higuaín, fresh back from his first senior international trip, scored a fantastic lob from a narrow angle for the final goal of the game. And on Sunday Leonardo Ponzio was sent off in the last minute for Real Zaragoza, who drew 2-2 at home to Racing de Santander (Juampi Carrizo and Roberto Ayala also featured for the hosts).
On Saturday in Italy, Esteban Cambiasso scored Internazionale’s first to set them on the way to a 5-0 away win over Genoa. For the home side, Hernán Crespo and Rodrigo Palacio were sent on together with half an hour left, by which time Inter were already 3-0 up. Walter Samuel and Javier Zanetti also featured for Inter but Diego Milito missed the match against his old side, still recovering from the injury which kept him out of the final two World Cup qualifiers, but manager José Mourinho is hopeful El Principe will be able to play a part when Inter take on Dynamo Kiev in the European Cup tonight.
Down south, Jesús Dátolo played the whole match whilst Ezequiel Lavezzi was substituted in the 90th minute, with Hugo Campagnaro also featuring as Napoli beat Bologna 2-1 in the San Paolo.
In Germany, Lucas Barrios scored for the second round running as Borussia Dortmund beat Bochum 2-0, whilst France’s Ligue Un saw Argentines on either side of the emotions produced by a penalty: Fernando Cavenaghi missed one which would have put Bordeaux 1-0 up away to Auxerre (they eventually lost 1-0) and Gonzalo Bergessio scored one with twenty minutes to go to give Saint Etienne hope, although they lost 2-1 in the end away to Montpellier.
In the Portuguese Cup, Javier Saviola was a second half substitute (and the only Argentine representative) and scored with a header in Benfica’s 6-0 win over Monsanto on Sunday, whilst the day before coincidence, or something more sinister, loomed: for the third season running, Porto met third division Sertanense; for the third season running, Porto won 4-0, and for the third season running, Ernesto Farías scored two of the goals (thanks to Phil Town at the absolutely brilliant Football Portugal Podcast for tipping me off to this weird symmetry of events).
And finally, over to Tom Clark to give us the lowdown from Mexico. Take it away, Tom.
On Saturday Cruz Azul, at home to Estudiantes Tecos, gave up an opener to Jorge ‘The Russian’ Zamogilny but came back to win 3-1 with Emanuel TitoVilla, this season’s centre-forward supreme, scoring again, his table-topping eleventh. San Luis triumphed at home over Pumas on the strength of the game’s only goal, scored by Braulio Luna but nicely supplied by a centre from Eduardo Chacho Coudet.
And in the mountain region of Monterrey, Neri Cardozo, playing for Jaguares de Chiapas, came within a whisker of scoring for the first time this season. On a Jaguares free kick (taken by Mexican Alejandro Argüello), Neri took a dive in the box, the Monterrey keeper Jonathan Orozco lost his bearings and the ball bounced into the goal. It was first credited to Neri, and he gratefully celebrated, but replays showed the ball had indeed touched nobody.