Carlos Tevez and Jonás Gutiérrez both had great weekends in the English Premier League, Javier Pastore scored a brilliant goal in Italy, and the Spanish top flight saw a double from Gonzalo Higuaín. Our correspondents, meanwhile, have news of impressive Argentine performances in Portugal, Mexico and the United States, whilst Lisandro López hit a double in France. Argentines Abroad might be a day later than usual, but it’s no less packed for it…
Tevez was the outstanding performer in England, scoring two goals as his penniless Manchester City valiantly fought out a 3-2 win away to the comparative financial might (in case anyone’s not twigged, I’m being sarcastic) of Blackpool. Tevez’s second included a foul in the buildup, but all the same he was impressive and decisive in ensuring City won a match the hosts might have deserved a point from. The previous day there had been heavy Argentine involvement for Newcastle United; Jonás Gutiérrez set up both goals, and Fabricio Coloccini scored the second from his corner, as Newcastle fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Wigan Athletic.
In Spain it was relatively quiet, Argentines-wise. Lionel Messi had a frustrating game, but his side played well in the second half as Barcelona overturned Valencia’s 0-1 half time lead in the Camp Nou to run out 2-1 winners. The headlines were reserved for Gonzalo Higuaín, who scored twice, to open and close the scoring, as Real Madrid beat Málaga 4-1 away from home.
Málaga 1 – 4 Real Madrid (Higuaín scores first and last)
Lisandro López was the other European brace-bagger for Argentina in the past weekend, notching two goals for Lyon as they beat Lille 3-1 at home to lift themselves to 14th in a season in which they’ve started poorly. And Javier Pastore scored a brilliant goal for Palermo to open the scoring, and thereafter played sublimely against Bologna, in a match the pink-shirted hosts eventually won 4-1.
Palermo 4 – 1 Bologna (Pastore scores first)
And now, over to our correspondents. As usual, click their name to see their Twitter profile, and the title of their blog to be taken to it.
This weekend saw the 3rd round of the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) take place, and with the entry of the Liga Sagres sides came plenty of Argentine involvement.
Nico Otamendi completed a full ninety minutes for FC Porto as they ran out 4-1 winners against minnows AD Limianos, with the former Vélez man rarely (if ever) taken out of his comfort zone. Otamendi sprayed around some pretty-looking passes from the back, but it will take sterner tests than this to see if he has what it takes to succeed at the Dragão. His marking for the Limianos consolation could have been tighter, but the game was already won by that point.
Benfica also progressed to the fourth round, thanks in no small part to the four Argentines who took to the pitch in Saturday’s late kick-off against Arouca. Eduardo Salvio, Pablo Aimar and Nico Gaitán were fielded behind Javier Saviola, who partnered Brazilian Alan Kardec up front. All four Argentines had their moments, but it was Gaitán who stood out, delivering his best display since joining Benfica from Boca in the summer. The reduction in quality of opposition clearly aided the youngster’s cause, but his perfectly weighted ball in for Kardec to open the scoring was one of real quality. Aimar and Saviola got in on the act for the second, the former delivering a deadly free-kick which was headed onto the post by Luisão. The ball fell at Saviola’s feet, and the former River man couldn’t miss. On the stroke of half-time, Gaitán went one better, producing a superbly-paced corner which sent the Arouca defence into chaos. Kardec again profited from his Argentine teammates, and headed Benfica into a 3-0 lead.
The second half saw Aimar and Saviola withdrawn, and the complete fading from the game of Salvio. The Atlético de Madrid loanee has made headlines in Portugal of late, with his parent club reportedly unhappy at the lack of playing time the youngster from Avellaneda has received. His muted performance tonight won’t aid his cause, but in truth, he would have had to have done something rather special to outshine Gaitán. The diminutive forward assumed the free role vacated by Aimar, and capped his night with a deserved goal. Driving forward, Gaitán left a couple of defenders in his wake and, after a neat one-two with Nuno Gomes, deftly lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper and into the net. 5-1 it finished, with Gaitán the undoubted star.
Benfica 5 – 1 Arouca (Gaitán sets up the opener and the third goal, and scores Benfica’s fifth)
Tom Clark was the first Argentines Abroad correspondent for HEGS and his excellent non-football related blog can be found here.
In the twelfth week of the Mexican Apertura, Cruz Azul maintained their position atop the overall table (as well as atop Group 3), moving up to 28 points on the campaign, on the strength of a decisive 3-0 home win on Saturday 16 October over Santos Laguna. Christian Chaco Giménez, enjoying a great torneo, capped the victory with a very pretty individual effort to score in the 89th minute (his seventh, leading all midfielders in Mexico).
On Sunday, Argentines played large roles in two matches. A 33rd minute golazo by Martin Bravo (his fourth) secured a 1-0 win en casa for Pumas (UNAM) over Jaguares de Chiapas. And on the same day the veteran Gabriel Ernesto El Mystico Pereyra was the figura for Puebla in their 2-2 home draw with América, twice bringing the Camoteros back to recover from deficits with powerful headers, his fifth and sixth goals of the campaign, in the 26th and 83rd minutes.
Puebla 2 – 2 Club América (Pereyra scores both Puebla’s goals)
Boaz Magal has recently started blogging here, and covers the Argentines in Israel for HEGS.
Ignacio Canuto played 90 minutes for Macabi Haifa in their 2-1 win against Beni Sachnin. And off the field: Darío Fernández got expelled from a mid week training session for Beitar Jerusalem after a confrontation with another player and showing of laziness. He wasn’t expected to play on Monday night against Pedro Galván and his team, Bnei Yehuda.
Fernández did, however, end up getting off the bench with twenty minutes to play in that Monday match, although the other Argentine Galván was the best player on the pitch in his team’s win against Beitar Jerusalem. He scored an equaliser on the 68th minutes from a free kick and made the assist for the winning goal. They won the game 2-1.
As the regular season winds down in MLS, teams are focussed on making sure they carry some momentum into the playoffs. Prior to the weekend, seven of the eight playoff spaces had been clinched and only the final seeding is left to play for.
Javier Morales continued his stellar form this season as he set up one goal and scored the other as Real Salt Lake beat FC Dallas in what could be a Western Conference preview. In the 59th minute Morales switched the ball over to Robbie Russells who played it over the top to Ned Grabavoy. His looping header beat Dario Sala who was stranded in no-man’s land and should have done better on the play. There was not much that Sala could have done to prevent the second goal. After neat work from Kyle Beckerman and Robbie Findley, Morales coolly finished by slotting the ball inside the far post, beyond the reach of the diving Sala. Fabián Espíndola played 78 minutes for RSL and earned a yellow card before being replaced by Findley.
Claudio López was an unused substitute for the Colorado Rapids as they beat the LA Galaxy to clinch the final playoff spot. While Lopez’s minutes have been limited this season, he could see playing time as a late minute sub during the playoffs. Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Gino Padula helped the Columbus Crew to a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. Chad Marshall scored the first goal from a Schelotto corner kick. Padula failed to mark Jacob Peterson on a diagonal run through the box and Peterson was able to give Toronto the lead, but the Crew claimed the draw in the end.
Eduardo Coudet returned from a calf-strain injury to start his first match since August 28 as the Philadelphia Union topped the New York Red Bulls 2-1. His performance was subdued as he continues to try to adapt to a new team and new league. Similarly, Pablo Hernández and DC United failed to score again in a dismal 0-0 draw with the Chicago Fire.
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