For a change, Carlos Tevez had a quiet match in the Premier League, with Manchester City losing to Everton (Pablo Zabaleta wasn’t much better). Elsewhere though, Argentines were in form again. Lionel Messi became the youngest player ever to score 100 competitive goals for Barcelona – and also the youngest to score 101. Ever Banega (!) was also on the scoresheet in Spain. Javier Saviola scored for Benfica (happy, Steve?), Maxi Rodríguez cried as he left Atlético de Madrid for Liverpool, Gabriel Heinze picked up an injury in France, Lucas Barrios didn’t score in Germany, for once, though he did set one up. Joaquín Larrivey scored twice for Cagliari, Diego Milito scored for Inter, and Jesús Dátolo moved to Greece on loan. Oh, and hostilities were renewed in Mexico. It’s an action-packed AA this week…
To Portugal first, then. Benfica had an easy win away to a Marítimo side one Portuguese website described as ‘suicidal’, running out with a 5-0 margin. Saviola scored the opening goal, rising above his marker to head home and set his team on the way. Ángel Di María and Pablo Aimar also started for Benfica. In France, Marseilles travelled to the champions Bordeaux. For the hosts, Fernando Cavenaghi didn’t get off the bench during the 1-1 draw, but Lucho González featured for the visitors as did Gabriel Heinze, who injured his left thigh midway through the second half and had to be substituted. Heinze will be out for around a month.
In the Spanish first division, the big headlines as usual were written by Lionel Messi, who scored the 100th and 101st goals of his Barcelona career in a 4-0 win over Sevilla which saw the champions take revenge for their midweek elimination from the Copa del Rey at the hands of the same opposition. Messi got the third and fourth, in the last five minutes of normal time. Elsewhere Ever Banega scored for Valencia – his first for the club and his second goal in La Liga – as they beat Villarreal 4-1. Facundo Roncaglia was sent off just after half time as his Espanyol side lost 2-0 away to Osasuna, and Real Madrid, without talisman Gonzalo Higuaín but with Ezequiel Garay playing the whole game at left back, lost 1-0 away to Athletic Bilbao.
Sergio Agüero, meanwhile, was desperately unlucky not to score his 50th Atlético de Madrid goal – he had an impressive match against Gijon but the opposing goalkeeper saved everything El Kun could throw at him. Pablo Piatti saw red for Almería, who drew 1-1 at home to Tenerife.
Messi’s goals against Sevilla (two videos)
Banega’s goal against Villarreal
Serie A saw plenty of Argentine triumphs. On Saturday Joaquin Larrivey scored his first two goals in calcio after his move from Vélez Sársfield, opening the scoring after just three minutes and doubling his tally in the 50th as Cagliari beat Livorno 3-0. That same day, Diego Milito scored from the penalty spot to help Internazionale to a 2-2 draw away to Bari. On Sunday Catania, Italy’s most Argentine club, got a 1-1 draw away to Sampdoria with Cristian Llama, a 23-year-old former Arsenal and Newell’s attacking midfielder, opened the scoring. It was his 37th game in Italy – he’d left Arsenal having scored six goals in 61 matches. You’ve got to wonder, given that record, why his team-mates let him anywhere near free kicks, but this one was arguably worth all those missed ones…
Palermo travelled to Napoli and drew 0-0 with Javier Pastore coming on with half an hour to go for Palermo and Germán Denis being replaced with ten minutes to go for the hosts. Napoli’s biggest Argentine story of the weekend was a transfer, though – Jesús Dátolo, in search of playing minutes prior to the World Cup, has joined Greek side Olympiakos on a one year loan deal. Talking of Greece, Carlos Araujo was sent off in the last minute of AEK Athens’s 1-1 draw away to Iraklis.
Elsewhere Lucas Barrios didn’t score, but did set up Dortmund’s first goal as they won 3-2 away to Cologne, and José Sand got the winner as United Arab Emirates champions Al-Ain beat Sharjah. Afterwards he was modest about his goalscorers’ table-topping feats; ‘I’m lucky to be the top scorer…’
And finally, we might only be in pre-season in South America but in the North things are already getting underway. Here, then, is Tom Clark to guide us through the Argentine stories in the first week of the 2010 Mexican Clausura.
The Mexican torneo kicked off on Saturday with a notable return to past form by Pachuca, who saw off Estudiantes Tecos at home on the strength of their quality Argentine contingent. Damián Manso scored twice, the second a deadly tiro libre, and a third goal was added by Damián Alvarez. (For those who may have missed the news, the great Christian Giménez has now moved on from Pachuca to Cruz Azul, his place in the front line taken up by a new ex-Argentine signing, Darío Cvitanich, back from Europe.)
Pachuca 3 – 0 Tecos (Manso 1st and 3rd; Alvarez 2nd)
On Sunday Rolfi Montenegro played a central role in setting up three goals and scored a fourth himself for América in a 5-1 rout of San Luis en casa. Tigres, playing away, surprised Puebla 1-0, the only goal of the day tallied by that skilful HEGS darling Lucas Lobos. And Santos, playing at home, edged Morelia 3-2 thanks largely to the strong service of Daniel Emanuel Ludueña, whose deliveries set up two goals — the first of these scored by his fellow Argentine Walter Jiménez.
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