Finally, something for River fans to smile about

San Lorenzo lost 2-1 to Argentinos Juniors on Saturday, and just as I type this Boca Juniors have lost at home to Independiente by the same score. River Plate don’t even play until tomorrow, but their bitter rivals losing matches isn’t the best news of the day for them. Because on Saturday night the votes were cast in record numbers in the club’s presidential election. Daniel Passarella was pipped to the post by just two votes – Rodolfo D’Onofrio, who recruited Enzo Francescoli to his team during the campaigning, was the recipient of those two votes. The close result now means the votes will have to recounted, with real speculation that three votes intended for Passarella were mis-counted due to a spelling error. D’Onofrio has links to the old guard so it’s not unmitigated joy, but for now Millonarios will be looking on the bright side: José María Aguilar’s reign is over.

After the first vote count of all 31 tables was completed, D’Onofrio had 5,289 votes to Passarella’s 5,287. A record number of River’s fans turned up at the Estadio Monumental to vote after queueing for two hours or more, a sign of the disaffection within the fanbase at the outgoing president’s time in charge. A recount has been ordered – as this post is being typed it’s been reported that five votes are to be inspected more closely, of which three, not previously counted, read ‘Frasarella’ [sic], which would appear to give El Kaiser the nod.

On the country’s pitches, San Lorenzo took the lead in Saturday’s first match, away to Argentinos. Los Santos wanted a win to stay in the hunt for a Copa Libertadores place in 2010, but they couldn’t add to Pablo Pintos’s 19th minute strike, and Argentinos equalised ten minutes into the second half through a free kick from Facundo Coria. Gustavo Oberman sent in a cross in the 68th minute which evaded everyone and ended up sailing just inside the angle to give el Bicho the points.

In Tucumán, Atlético shocked Colón to ensure that the highest the santafesinos can now finish is third. Luis Rodríguez gave the hosts the lead as early as the eighth minute, and he doubled his tally just over half an hour in to make it 2-0. Thereafter the hosts were able to hold their lead pretty comfortably, in spite of the double goalscorer’s substitution at half time.

And in La Bombonera Boca Juniors fell behind twice to Independiente in the clásico, the second coming too late for them to mount a fightback. Néstor Silvera gave El Rojo the lead in the 25th minute and Independiente held the advantage going into half time. Ten minutes after the break Pablo Mouche equalised with a tap-in, but Ignacio Piatti won it for Independiente late on with a real golazo, the ball pinging from red shirt to red shirt until Silvera steered it into the midfielder’s path and Piatti, a half time substitute, steered it into the corner.

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