Primera Division Report: Week 11 (Oct 15-17)
Velez Sarsfield lectured and entertained the crowds on Friday's late game.
Ricardo Gareca's boys gave Hugo Tocalli the fatal blow as Quilmes' coach. Brewers' dry streak undermined Tocalli's team confidence, whose players could do nothing to stop Velez from bagging the three points.
Two exquisite goals from Santiago Silva and Juan Manuel Martinez (top goalscorers of the tournament) secured an important victory at the Jose Luis Meiszner.
San Lorenzo returned to victory against the Matadores and climbs to the fourth position on Friday's night. Only the fittest will withstand against the havoc wreaked by the Apertura's fight.
Ramon Diaz' Cuervos celebrated an important victory at the Nuevo Gasometro. Caruso Lombardi's Tigers were tamed by the hosts from the first minute and after three weeks San Lorenzo joined once again the top fight.
"I needed the victory as a coach, I'm not used to three consecutive defeats. I believe we reacted fast, my players want to fight back. They've understand we cannot lose more points, we've learned from our mistakes and our virtues will take as to the top" said San Lorenzo's coach.
Juan Menseguez opened the score at the 3rd minute and the advantage allowed the hosts to cool down and control the ball. Tigre was unable to break Cuervos' defense and eventually Sebastian Balsas secured the three points with a powerful shot.
Now San Lorenzo waits for Huracan in Parque Patricios' derby. Tigre faces Olimpo in a decisive clash for the category. The Apertura brings more surprises week after week.
Velez shortened the difference from the top to only two points upon a flawless victory in Quilmes. Two delightful goals at the 38th minute of the first and second half granted Gareca's boys three decisive points to catch up with the Pinchas at the top.
Santiago Silva and Juan Manuel Martinez have scored seven goals each, Maxi Moralez grows as the architect of the team: Gareca has found a strong formation that takes the best out of his squad, most prolific team of the competition.
Quilmes relied in violence to stop Velez's ball flow, but the superiority of the visitors was finally rewarded as Santiago Silva connected a powerful header, deflected by Quilmes' goalkeeper. Martinez's opportunism gave Burrito Martinez a golden opportunity that opened the score as the first half was ending.
It was all about Velez in the last 45 minutes. Tocalli introduced modifications in his scheme but was unable to control Fortin's midfielder, who grew stronger and stronger. Silva score a delightful goal that rendered the hosts in pain. Now Velez waits for Estudiantes in an early final, will they reach the top by the end of the month?
Arsenal celebrated an important victory in one of the most exciting matches of the week. It took only 32 seconds to the Lobos to claim the upper hand with a powerful shot for Jorge Cordoba.
Gimnasia's confidence received a huge boost with the early goal, and the visitors knew Estudiantes would get out of reach upon another defeat. Luciano Leguizamon score the equalizer at the 29th minute, freezing the last fifteen minutes of the first half.
Jorge Cordoba stole Pablo Aguilar the ball in the first play of the second half and he defined without hesitating, letting Arsenal know they'll have to struggle hard to remain competitive in the title's fight, but only three minutes later Mauro Obolo leveled the game.
The game grew more and more difficult with both teams generation dangerous situations on both areas, and as the game was ending Pablo Aguilar got his redemption from a header that granted Arsenal three decisive points.
All Boys surprised Antonio Mohammed and obtained three important points to lift their spirit and escape the bottom fight. The good news for Independiente's coach is that team's former captain Carlos Matheus is ready to return to the fields and lead the defense with great strength.
All Boys defeated once again a giant with strength and solidity (they beat Boca Juniors 2-0 in the third match of the tournament9 and showed strong credentials to maintain the category.
Jonathan Ferrari, Carlos Casteglione and Uruguay's Juan Pablo Rodríguez score for the hosts while Facundo Parra reduced the difference for the Diablos. It took less than 20 minutes for the Albos to open a significant gap from Independiente, who drifted on the middle of the field throughout the whole game.
Last week's victory against Racing fueled the spirit of the Diablos with an unearthly strength, but Jose Romero's scheme stopped them from building a serious offense.
Independiente's defensive mistakes cost Mohammed's team the three points. As soon as the second half started Independiente's defenders gifted Carlos Castiglione a clear goal. It's clear Rojos' new coach will have to work hard to improve the performance of his team if they're meant to fight side by side with the bests once again.
In less than five minutes Colon's legendary striker Esteban Fuertes score an early goal that shifted the game completely, forcing Estudiantes to deal with a packed defense without the presence of Rodrigo Braña and Juan Sebastian Veron, team's most creative midfielders.
But things were going to get worse for the Pinchas: Team's goalkeeper Agustin Orion left the game on physical distress leaving young Cesar Taborda with the big responsibility of defending the top.
Enzo Perez was the most electric player on the field and as the first half was ending he's challenged inside the area. Gaston Fernandez score the equalizer and the game cooled down. It's the sixth penalty shot given to Estudiantes in 11 matches.
The second half was much more relaxed than the first 45 minutes. Alejandro Sabella didn't want to risk the point obtained and Colon could do nothing to break with Estudiantes' back line.
It was an important play for the leader, playing away, and now the'll have to focus on next week's gigantic clash against one of the top candidates, Velez Sarsfield.
Eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana, Julio Cesar Falcioni decided to focus on the domestic league's fight and start adding units to make it to next year's Copa Libertadores. Two highly tactical teams met each other in the south without much success for any side, sealing a goalless draw.
Banfield's captain Victor Lopez was substituted early on the first half and his absence undermined Falcioni's offensive strategy. Mauro Formica became more dangerous with the spaces given, but he run out of ideas against Banfield's sturdy defense.
Walter Erviti, Emilio Zelaya and Ruben Ramirez kept Newell's goalkeeper Sebastian Peratta constantly busy, but the Leproso goalie reacted accordingly time after time. Banfield finished the first half with two injured players, without causing much trouble to Newell's defense.
Gabriel Mendez gave more versatility to Banfield's offense, but it was never enough. Newell's striker Ivan Borghello was almost a shadow, and for the last Sudamericana stages Sensini's success will have much to do with his performance.
Sunday's early game featured the Aurinegros securing the three points in Bahia Blanca against Luis Zubeldia's Lanus. Hernan Grana's own goal cost the visitors the game and the chance to catch up with Estudiantes.
Olimpo was far from being superior, but Omar de Felippe understood the flow of the game in depth and as soon as they were granted the opening goal, the Aurinegros retired to their own area and waited to finish the game with a strong counter attack. Lanus' midfielders run out of ideas pretty quickly and could only stare against Olimpo's packed defense.
Lanus' goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin saved the visitors from the worst, deflecting every shot against his goal and feeding Granate's illusion of scoring the equalizer. Mario Regueiro was close from beating Olimpo's goal with a powerful header at the end of the game but the ball went slightly away.
Olimpo exposed many weaknesses on Luis Zubeldia's squad. The victory took Olimpo one step closer from crawling off the basement, will they survive the restless Apertura's fight?
Claudio Borghi returned to victory at the Bombonera against Miguel Brindisi's decaying Globos. Martin Palermo and Lucas Viatri granted the Xeneizes an important victory to reach the 10th position in the table standings. Cristian Luchetti finished the game without conceding a single goal for the first time in the last five years.
Gary Medel's versatility allowed Boca to focus on the offense while remaining calm on the back line. Boca's coach called for moderation "Those teams ahead of us have opened a big gap. We need to focus on running towards the top and get as closer as possible. We'll visit Independiente with this in mind, we need to win outside home"
Rolando Zarate is struggling to recover his level and Huracan's offense greatly misses Roly's leadership. "It was a hard game, we had to deal with a major rival and as soon as we're getting used to dealing with the weight of the first goal, Lucas Viatri widened the difference" said Brindisi.
Cristian Chavez grows as the preferred play maker as Borghi waits for Riquelme to recover. It seems whenever Boca's coach deploys his whole artillery the Xeneizes will become one of the deadliest squads in the competition.
Boca Juniors is sharpening its weapons prior to facing River Plate at the Super Derby three weeks from now. Now the Xeneizes have to deal with Argentinos and Independiente, will they return home victorious after facing the two Devils and defy Estudiantes' leadership?
Colombia's international Giovanni Moreno became once again Racing's main driver and with two goals he gifted three decisive points for the Academia against Clausura's reigning champion Argentinos. Franco Niell had score the opening goal minutes earlier but the Bichitos Colorados didn't know how to prolong the advantage.
Gio Moreno healed the wounds inflicted by Independiente last week at Avellaneda's derby. As soon as the first half was over Miguel Angel Russo had to deal with the anxiety of the crowds, but it seems he managed to communicate his players the needed spirit to claim the three points.
An exquisite free kick from Giovanni Moreno at the 14th minute of the second half leveled the match and fifteen minutes later the Colombian tasted the net again catching Argentinos' goalkeeper off guard.
The three points help Racing stand at the upper half of the positions table while Argentinos sank to the bottom of the table, only four points above the basement line. Racing's captain Claudio Yacob is helping the Academia overcome a warm beginning, is Racing ready to fight among the best for the last Libertadores' place?
The hottest match of the week lived up to the expectations of the crowds, offering intense action throughout the whole 90 minutes. Both River and Godoy Cruz could have won the game but it seemed the die has been already cast.
Omar Asad's Tombas assumed an aggressive attitude from the very beginning for they knew River would become dangerous if given space to create. Gabriel Funes Mori actually score the winning goal in the last play of the game, but the goal was annulled for an alleged hand. Miguel Angel Cappa's Millonarios say goodbye to their championship dreams and start worrying for the relegation fight once again.
Eric Lamela was the most dangerous player of the first half, and his interaction with Mariano Pavone created most of the offensive opportunities. At the 28th minute Pavone shot against Tomba's goal, the ball hit the post and Leandro Sigali send it straight into the net, giving the advantage to the visitors and dooming Omar Asad's boys to struggle not to be left empty handed.
Godoy Cruz' top striker David Ramirez was unstoppable and his efforts were rewarded at the beginning of the second half when he beat Juan Pablo Carrizo with a powerful shot. The joy lasted only 10 minutes, for Mariano Pavone caught a bouncing ball inside the box and he gave River the upper hand once again.
Omar Asad was aware he needed to sharpen his weapons to break through Cappa's defensive scheme. He made the right call sending Cesar Carranza to the field, for he score the equalizer at the 33th minute.
The last 10 minutes of the game were highly controversial. Godoy Cruz had three clear shots against Carrizo's goal but wasted every one of them, and Funes Mori was unable to celebrate a perfectly valid goal. Now it's clear this year's fight will involve only three teams.