Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apertura 2011 - Round 12

Only 7 rounds left in Apertura and it's almost safe to say there's not a team that can take the championship away from the undefeated Boca.
They passed a big test in this round, playing without their 3 attacking players: playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, and strikers Cvitanich and Viatri (torn ACL, out for 6-8 months), and they did it without any sweat. Colon was a lousy rival and Boca took an easy win to keep their 6 points advantage at the top.

The 2nd placed team is Atletico Rafaela, who finally played again a solid match after some irregular performances, beating last placed Argentinos Juniors 3-1.

Next round Boca and Atletico Rafaela meet.
Will the leaders take a bigger difference, or will Rafaela take the 3 points and open the race for the title ?

Racing is definitely a curious case. They are still undefeated and have conceded only 4 goals, but they just can't play as they are expected to and after 5 consecutive draws it seems like their championship dreams are gone, even though they still have to play against Boca.

Clausura champion Velez recently woke up. They won the last 4 games, but it's probably too late for them as well because the 8 points difference with Boca and their main goal for this semester is Copa Sudamericana where they've advanced to the Quarterfinals and will meet Santa Fe from Colombia.

Even though there are still 8 more months until relegations are decided, the fight in the lower places of the Averages table has been really hard.
San Martin, Tigre, Olimpo, All Boys, Union, San Lorenzo and Arsenal are fighting to avoid the relegations and promotion playoffs, and it promises to be a tough finish when the season ends.

Round 13 will be played this weekend but we have a postponed match because San Lorenzo and All Boys won't be played.
San Lorenzo crisis got even worst this week as some "hooligans" went on a fight with defender Jonathan Botinelli during Wednesday's practice and that ended with the security committee suspending the game.

Round 13 schedule :

Saturday October 29
15.05—Argentinos Juniors-Vélez Sarsfield
19.15—Newell’s Old Boys-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca

Sunday October 30
14.00—Lanús-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
18.10—Boca Juniors-Atlético Rafaela
20.20—Belgrano de Córdoba-Colón de Santa Fe

Monday October 31
17.00—Unión de Santa Fe-Tigre
19.05—Estudiantes de La Plata-Racing Club
21.15—San Martín de San Juan-Banfield


Averages Table ( :

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apertura 2011 - Round 9 & 10 Update


We are through the half of the tournament and there's one thing for sure: this is Boca's championship to lose.
After 10 rounds they are still undefeated, with only 2 goals conceded and 5 points above the 2nd placed team, the recently promoted Atletico Rafaela, and 6 above Racing who is also still undefeated and has conceded just 3 goals but drew 3 of the last 4 games.

* Racing had the chance to make a difference and grow in confidence with back to back derbies against San Lorenzo and Independiente, but they tied both and saw Boca take a bigger difference above them.

* The other story of this first half of Apertura is the good performance by most of the recently promoted teams. Rafaela, Belgrano and recently Union are among the top 10 of the league and have established themselves as very tough rivals. Now it comes the most difficult part: to keep the pace until the end of the season, something usually difficult for teams that come from 2nd division.

* Most important news this week in Argentinean football has been the confirmation that Juan Sebastian Veron is retiring at the end of this month when Estudiantes hosts Racing for the 13th round.
Besides his age (he's 36) the main problem is the ankle injury he's been suffering all year and that it seems like it won't heal so with nothing to play for until the end of the year he decided to retire sooner.

* Talking about Estudiantes, they are without a doubt the most disappointing story of Apertura. After an awful Clausura they rebuilt their team to fight for the championship and there was no season preview that didn't put them among the candidates.
But things never worked OK for them. A mix of injuries, bad performances and some bad luck put them exactly at the other side of where they were supposed to be: bottom of the standings with only 1 win in 10 games.
Their semester is gone and now with Veron retiring we'll see what happens with the club that was at the top of everyone the last 5 years.

* The end of the season and the promotion playoffs/relegations might be 8 months away but the fight in the lower places of the Averages table is as tough as always with San Martin, Tigre, All Boys, Olimpo, San Lorenzo, Arsenal and other teams coming in and out of the dangerous zone.

* Copa Argentina's first season is underway and about to reach the most interesting part !
The early stages have been played in August and September and next month the 40 First Division and Second division teams will join the 24 teams that went through the first phases.
For those of you interested to read a little more about it:

The league is now in a break for the first rounds of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers to be played on Friday and Tuesday, and will resume next Friday with round 11:

Friday October 14
17.10-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-Tigre
19.25-- Newell`s Old Boys-Arsenal F.C.
21.30-- San Lorenzo-Banfield

Saturday October 15
14.00-- Independiente-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
16.30-- Unión de Santa Fe-All Boys
21.15-- San Martín de San Juan-Racing Club

Sunday October 16
14.00-- Estudiantes de La Plata-Atlético Rafaela
16.10-- Argentinos Juniors-Colón de Santa Fe
18.30-- Boca Juniors-Belgrano de Córdoba
20.30-- Lanús-Vélez Sarsfield


Averages Table ( :