Argentines in… um… Spain & Mexico

In spite of not having done anything in particular this week out of the ordinary, Thursday night has arrived and I’ve still not yet put up Argentines Abroad. I have had two contributions sent in, though, from Spain and Mexico, so it would be remiss of me not to at least put those up. To find out how Argentines did in Spain between last week’s Copa Del Rey clásico and this week’s installment in the European Cup, and how Emanuel Villa, Damián Álvarez et al did in Mexico last weekend, just read on. Complete with videos!

David Cartlidge contributes to Spanish Football Info, and is here to give us the lowdown on the action in Spain.

The game in the Mestalla on Saturday evening was absurd, as Valencia and Real Madrid took part in a nine-goal thriller with Madrid coming out on top 3-6. Éver Banega featured for Valencia, and after weeks of quality performances turned in one which could only be described as anonymous. The Man Of The Match award went to Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuaín; he was simply brilliant as he grabbed a hat-trick and weighed in with two assists. Though his touch and pace deserted him on occasions, which can be expected given his comeback from a long injury layoff, the industry and determination were certainly there. He dropped deep, worked out wide and also worked highest up the pitch as a centre-forward not to mention tracking back – a duty team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo neglected in the game. The hat-trick was thoroughly deserved, the first showing good perseverance, the second a tap-in and the third similarly easy. Pipita is very much back. Ezequiel Garay also got a rare start, and looked decent for his 75 minutes on the field though looked a touch off the pace on occasions -again, expected given his lack of minutes.

Valencia 3 – 6 Real Madrid (Madrid in navy; Higuaín scores their 2nd, 4th and 5th goals)

An Argentine trio featured for Barcelona as they overcame Osasuna 2-0 in the Camp Nou. Javier Mascherano continued to deputise at centre back for the Catalans, and he’s doing a very good job of it. Composure, strength and when others around him were making mistakes he stood tall. Later in the game, with Maxwell feeling an injury, he also covered at left back and did a good job of that too. Gabriel Milito started too for Barcelona, and while on the pitch was frankly a liability; he was caught out of position numerous times and outpaced frequently before being replaced because of an injury just after the hour mark. Finally Lionel Messi, after starting on the bench, came on just before the hour mark with an eagerness to get what he wanted: his 50th goal of the season. He got just that. After being played in by Dani Alves, Messi ran on to the ball and finished with consummate ease.

Messi whole performance

On Sunday evening Atlético Madrid were in action, beating Levante 4-1, with Sergio Agüero leading them throughout and grabbing a brace. His first was quite brilliant, after seeing his shot blocked; he smashed the rebound in the net from outside the area showing great vision and technique. The second was a penalty which he dispatched with ease. That puts Kun on 96 official goals for Atlético now, and he’s now also scored in the last six consecutive matches to make it 23 for the season.

Highlights from Atlético 4-1 Levante

There was a thriller in Seville on Sunday, as Sevilla beat Villarreal 3-2. Mateo Musacchio featured for Villarreal, and didn’t have one of his better games as he looked slow physically, and mentally. He was caught ball-watching several times and the marking left a lot to be desired. Marco Rubén played for Villarreal too, and his performance was one of a lethargic nature too leading the attack – Villarreal rely heavily upon the movement of their front players, and Rubén just wasn’t up to the task on the evening. Federico Fazio played for Sevilla, his 14th straight game since his return from injury, and though he put some decent interceptions in he did lose track of Giuseppe Rossi several times. Diego Perotti played for Sevilla too and put in a good performance; his sweeping long ball for Negredo’s goal was sublime.

Tom Clark, meanwhile, has his own blog over here, and visits HEGS each week to help us keep up to speed with the Mexican league.

Two Argentine goals in Mexico in the 16th and penultimate round of the Mexican Clausura, both by familiar and well-seasoned pamperos and both extremely useful to clubs with hopes that extend beyond the conclusion of the present torneo.

Perennial contenders Cruz Azul, playing at home to Chivas of Guadalajara on 23 April, found themselves in a tight spot late on, down a man and trailing 1-0. To the rescue, in the 83rd minute, came their most dependable scorer of the past several seasons, centre-forward Emanuel Tito Villa. A precise move, a picture perfect finish by Villa – his ninth goal of the campaign – and blushes were spared on the day for the Blue Machine.

On Sunday the 24th, in a confrontation of two clubs bound for the liguilla, Tigres de Nuevo León breezed into Morelia’s home turf and took charge from the outset, early pressure producing a sweet move started with a pinpoint cross from Damián Ariel La Chilindrina Álvarez and completed with a clinical finish (at the expense of compatriot goalkeeper Federico El Jefe Vilar) by HEGS’ favourite player in Mexico, Lucas Lobos. The 13th minute goal proved all Tigres would need on the day; they added two more later, for good measure, and finished the afternoon standing clear atop Group 1 and looking up only to Pumas (UNAM) in the overall league table.

You can follow the ins and outs during the 2011 Torneo Clausura, as well as the country’s vast foreign legion and the latest news from the selección during the 2010-2011 season direct from Buenos Aires with HEGS on Twitter. If you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here. You can also join the official HEGS Facebook group, to keep up to date with the latest posts on the blog and discuss things with other fans. You’ll find it here. Also remember to bookmark Hand Of Pod, our Argentine football podcast, or if you prefer you can subscribe to it on iTunes here.

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