Argentines Abroad 2011-12: It begins…

This isn’t going to be a very complete Argentines Abroad post, because I’ve been very busy so far this week, and of course Spain and Italy both have yet to get underway properly, but two of our regular contributors from last season have already sent in pieces to help our readers get up to speed with what’s been going on in Mexico and France so far. So I’ll hand over the reins to Andrew Gibney of the excellent Gib Football Show podcast, and Tom Clark, HEGS’ man in Mexico. Take it away, boys.

Tom Clark blogs about all sorts of things here, and is about to start his third season keeping HEGS readers up to date with goings-on in Mexico.

What follows is meant to fill HEGS readers in on a few of the more memorable Argentine moments from the first five rounds of the Apertura in the 2011 Mexican Primera, with video highlights. Some of the familiar Argentine players have switched shirts, some have come back after years elsewhere, and then there’s new boy José Sand. Meanwhile the old boys persist in contributing.

Round 2, 31 July:

Cesar Chelito Degado, celebrating his return to Mexico, scores after 72 minutes for the Rayados in Monterrey 4 – 2 Tijuana (final goal on clip):

The Cementeros of Cruz Azul, at home to Atlas, grab their first victory of the campaign, 2-1, thanks to a cabezazo by Emanuel Tito Villa after 71 minutes:

Round 3, 3 August:

Lowly Estudiantes Tecos (UAG) stroll into the colossal Azteca and shoot down the well-paid and once-mighty Águilas of América, 2-1, coming from behind on a powerful header by the big defender Jorge El Ruso Zamogilny an hour in, and winning it ten minutes later through a wicked free kick by midfielder Rubens Sambueza:

Neri Cardozo, off to a sizzling start for Monterrey, scores his second in three matches by converting a nifty pass from Humberto El Chupete Suazo after half an hour to bring the Rayados level at 1-1, but playing away to 2011 Clausura champions Pumas (UNAM) proves too much to ask as the Universitarios come back to win it 2-1.

Round 4, 6 August:

Newly promoted Tijuana shock Santos by roaring back from an early deficit to earn a decisive 3-1 win, with the second goal (Fernando Arce, 43 minutes in) nicely made by new-man-in-Mexico José Sand, and the second scored by Sand himself in the 53rd minute with a pretty chip:

The ever-hard-working Tito Villa of Cruz Azul opens the scoring against Atlante with a header after 45 minutes (though visiting Atlante later come back to tie at 1-1); Villa’s goal opens this clip:

Round 5, 12 August:

Damián Manso, notching his first tally for his new club, Monarcas of Morelia, completes a smart three-man move 53 minutes into a 2-1 home defeat to Chivas (second goal on clip):

Mauro Cejas, brought in to rekindle the Argentine offensive fire at recently-struggling Pachuca, sets up the first and scores the third himself after 78 minutes of this surprisingly one-sided home win for the Tuzos over the previously unbeaten Red Devils of Toluca:

The first six weeks of the Mexican Clausura also saw goals by standout Argentine veterans Martín Bravo of Pumas, Vicente Matías Vuoso of América, Lucas Lobos of Tigres, Mauricio Romero of Atlas… as to the detail, your correspondent is flagging, but fans of those fine players could, er, look it up.

And then came Round 6, which opened on the evening of Friday, 19 August with Estudiantes Tecos receiving – and stunning – Pachuca. El Ruso Zamogilny’s 49th minute header brought Tecos back into it, breaking the way to a 2-1 comeback victory:

On Saturday 20 August, Monterrey, playing away to Chivas of Guadalajara, jumped off to a bright start when their in-form Argentine connection linked 25 minutes in, Neri Cardozo supplying, Chelito Delgado finishing; Chivas fought back to win in this one, but the Cardozo-Delgado magic provided the day’s best offensive moment:

On the same day Cruz Azul suffered but conquered at home, when Tijuana were finally dispatched 2-1 on the strength of yet another a brave (and timely) Tito Villa header after 77 minutes:

The quiet assassin Villa has been carrying his club on his large shoulders all through the start of this campaign. A sadder moment on the day, though, was the sight of Santos’ veteran midfielder Daniel Emanuel Ludueña leaving the pitch at Torreon with a different sort of burden on his shoulders – his small (and frightened) daughter – as the Laguneros’ home match with Morelia was called off and fans ran out of the seating areas onto the field to take cover after shooting erupted outside the stadium. The long struggle of Mexican football (and Mexican life in general) to escape the violence of the country’s drug wars remains ongoing.

Andrew Gibney is the presenter of the superb English-language French football podcast, French Football Weekly.

There are 11 Argentine players in Ligue Un this season from the relative unknowns such as Emiliano Sala to the world superstar that is Javier Pastore. There have already been some excellent performances from the Argentine contingent and it looks like being a good season for these Argentines abroad.

Former O’Higgins and Argentinos Juniors defender Santiago Gentiletti made his debut last week as Brest drew 0-0 with Valenciennes. This week he was up against a tougher task in the shape of a fellow Argentine, striker Lisandro López. The former Porto man started the season with two goals from two games but on Saturday he had a poor game by his standards. After Brest took an early lead through Benoit Lesoimier it was up to Lisandro’s strike partner Bafetimbi Gomis to level the scores.

In the big Sunday night game Marseille were held at home by a plucky St-Etienne side. So far this season Lucho Gonzalez has been one of L’OM’s best players but the former River Plate man had a poor night. He nearly set up Loic Remy with an exquisite pass over the ASSE defence but his passing rhythm seemed a little off. Rumours of him moving on loan to Arsenal continue, and maybe this was playing on his mind.

Two left-backs that have impressed so far in Ligue Un are former Boca Juniors defender Luciano Monzón at Nice and former Independiente man Lucas Mareque. Both signed over the summer and have settled in well. Mareque has replaced Jeremy Morel who moved to Marseille and was instrumental in Lorient’s excellent win over PSG in Week 1. Monzón has played well but Nice have struggled and find themselves bottom of the table after three games.

All eyes were on Paris as PSG took on Valenciennes. After making his debut in the Europa League new signing Javier Pastore had to make do with a place on the bench. 12 minutes into the second half he made his home debut. He received a rapturous standing ovation as he entered the field.

The new record €42 million pound man showed some touches of class and looked to be slowly settling into life as a Parisian. It will take a few more weeks until Pastore and PSG are firing on all cylinders.

Pastore’s entrance:

You can follow the latest news from the selección and Argentina’s foreign legion of players, as well as the domestic championship, River Plate’s first second division campaign in over a century and the ever entertaining/tragic/infuriating capers of Julio Grondona & chums 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. And 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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