Argentines Abroad is delayed slightly this week by the Monday night fixture bumping the normal domestic coverage a day on, and the fact I’ve been writing an article for another site (more of which later in the week). That’s useful in some ways because the Copa del Rey in Spain has ensured there’s action to report from Tuesday night as well, whilst the top flights of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal all had Argentine goalscorers at the weekend. There was even one in England’s second division – Jonás Gutiérrez has finally scored for Newcastle United! But is he happy? Is he hell…
In Spain, Saturday saw Real Madrid beat Atlético 3-2 in the clásico madrileño. Gonzalo Higuaín scored the third for Madrid before half time away to their neighbours, and after Uruguay’s former Independiente striker Diego Forlán had put the hosts back in the game, Sergio Agüero scored for Atléti to make it 2-3, but it was too little, too late. Elsewhere, Lionel Messi scored a late penalty for Barcelona as they beat Real Mallorca 4-2 in Camp Nou.
Since then, there have been second legs in the Copa del Rey. Messi scored 3 minutes after coming off the bench as Barca won 5-0 against Cultural Leonesa for a 7-0 aggregate win, whilst Maxi Rodríguez scored not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times for Atléti, who put the woes of the derby loss behind them by knocking out Marbella 8-0 on aggregate (6-0 on the night), and Madrid, who included Fernando Gago, only won 1-0 so are out after the hilarious 4-0 loss in the first leg against Alcorcón two weeks ago.
Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta’s Manchester City drew 3-3 with Burnley after a poor performance, but there was better news further down the English pyramid: Jonás Gutiérrez scored a solo effort to open the scoring in the 15th minute for Newcastle United, who went on to beat Peterborough United 3-1. Afterwards Jonás explained he hadn’t celebrated with his Spiderman mask because he was unhappy at press reports during the week claiming he wanted to force a move to Serie A side Roma.
In France, Saint Etienne (1-0 away to AS Nancy) and Lorient (5-0 at home to Boulogne) both won with Argentines in the teams. Gabriel Peñalba was a substitute for Lorient, whilst Saint Etienne feautured Gonzalo Bergessio and Augusto Fernández. Most notable, though, was Sunday’s frankly ridiculous 5-5 draw between Lyon and Olympique Marseilles. Licha López got two for Lyon, from whom César Delgado came on late on, whilst Gabriel Heinze played the whole game for Marseilles.
In Germany, Saturday saw Martín Demichelis return to the Bayern München starting XI. They drew 1-1 with Schalke. On Sunday, Lucas Barrios scored for Dortmund as they drew 1-1 away to Werder Bremen. In the Netherlands also on Sunday, Sergio Romero’s AZ Alkmaar, the champions, could only draw 1-1 at home to Feyenoord. In Italy there were only two Argentine goals, and both came from Hernán Crespo, who scored twice in one game for the first time in two-and-a-half years to put Genoa 2-0 up at home to Siena (they went on to win 4-2).
And now over to Tom Clark, who can update us on what’s happened in Mexico since the last Argentines Abroad two weeks ago:
The man of the October 31 / November 1 weekend was once again the opportunistic centre forward Emanuel Tito Villa of Cruz Azul, who opened the weekend by scoring twice in a 2-1 home win over Atlante. The losing side’s goal (from Rafael Marquez Lugo) came off the good providing work of Gabi El Mystico Pereyra. Pachuca came back to gain a 1-1 draw away at Atlas on a goal (by Juan Carlos Cacho) that owed everything to a brilliant pinpoint centre arrowed in by Christian Chaco Giménez. On Sunday Santos, at home to Pumas, pulled out a 1-1 draw on the strength of a late equaliser by Vicente Matías Vuoso.
In a round of midweek fixtures, on November 4 Cruz Azul drove to a 3-1 away win at Pachuca, the clincher coming on a golazo from Villa. A Chaco Giménez pass (to Marco Iván Perez) set up Pachuca’s lone goal.
A Lucas Lobos assist (to Kikin Fonseca) brought Tigres back to draw 1-1 at Querétaro. Jorge ‘The Russian’ Zamogilny was the provider (to Pablo Ramirez) for the home side’s only score in Estudiantes Tecos’ 1-1 home draw against San Luis.
On November 5 Pumas, playing at home, overcame América on a penalty at the death by Martin Bravo.
And to the weekend just gone. On Saturday 7th Villa, having the season of a lifetime, scored twice to lead Cruz Azul to a 4-0 rout at home to Puebla. After five goals in these three matches, Villa’s league-leading goal total now stands at sixteen. Tigres, in their best result in many moons, massacred Atlante 4-0 at home. La Gata Fernández scored twice (bringing his total for the torneo to six) and Lucas Lobos had an assist.
But the Argentine player of the weekend was the wonderfully skilled ex-Boca man Alfredo Chango Moreno, who notched a hat trick in a very entertaining 4-2 San Luis victory at home to Santos. Moreno’s third goal on the day, his ninth of the season, iced the victory and was a beauty to behold. Santos were kept in the game largely on the strength of yeoman work by Vicente Matias Vuoso, who scored their first and then set up the Colombian Carlos Darwin Quintero with a sweet backheel for their second.
Finally, on Sunday the Águilas of Club América were assured of a return to the liguilla by a 1-0 home win over Monterrey, the only goal of the match coming on a cabezazo picado (off a Pavel Pardo free kick) by Rolfi Montenegro.
Thanks as ever, Tom. Finally, a note of consolation to a couple of Gulf-based Argentines: in the final of the Asian Champions League on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad, with Gabriel Calderón managing and Luciano Leguizamón up front, lost 2-1 to South Korea’s Pohang Steelers, who could now face Estudiantes in the semis of the Club World Cup.