Monday, April 30, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 12 - Relegation battle heats up !



3 matches on Sunday, and 3 results that could be key in the long run in the relegations battle.

Notice: in case you don't know how are relegations decided in the Argentine league, you can read this piece I wrote a couple of years ago: http://www.argentinapreviews.com/2010/05/how-are-relegations-decided.html

San Lorenzo 2 - Arsenal 0

Is there hope for San Lorenzo ? If they can continue playing like in the two last wins at home (today and the 3-0 vs Godoy Cruz) there definitely is.
Of course don't expect some solid football Velez's style, but the team looks much more focused since coach Caruso Lombardi took over, right midfielder Julio Buffarini who joined in the middle of the tournament from 2nd division side Ferro has been a great addition, and more importantly, they are creating good scoring positions.
Besides a defensive distraction that was Arsenal's best and almost only chance to score in the first minutes, San Lorenzo was always better than a very poor Arsenal side that never was able to manage the ball. San Lorenzo could have finished it very early in the 2nd half but they missed two big chances, and the game changed after that when Arsenal's midfielder Carbonero elbowed a rival, received a red card and the whole game went out of control for the referee. The match was stopped for 5 minutes while everybody protested, and once it resumed the hosts finished it with a great counter attack.
San Lorenzo is still in promotion playoffs zone but after getting 8 of the last 12 points (could have been 10 is they didn't concede in the last minute vs Banfield) the future looks a little better.


Union 2 - Olimpo 0

Union got the win that was absolutely expected and even if it took them almost 70 minutes to score the 1st goal it was totally deserved and it could have happened earlier but they missed a penalty in the 1st half.
Olimpo is doomed to play next season in 2nd division, every week there are less doubts about it. Union took 3 very important points and with 2 or 3 more wins in the last 7 games they will very probably avoid the promotion playoffs.


Argentinos Jrs 0 - Atletico Rafaela 0

Argentinos - Rafaela was a a very poor and boring game but curiously both teams had 2 or 3 huge chances missed each that could have changed the scoreless draw including a wrongly disallowed with a bad called offside for the visitors, and a header missed by Argentinos' striker Sebastian Balsas in the last minute of the game.
The draw was pretty useless for both teams and especially for Rafaela because every other team (except Olimpo, and Tigre has to play today) in the relegation battle won this weekend.

The 12th round ends today with Belgrano - Tigre that will kick off at 22.15 GMT.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 12 - Back to the top with a bicycle kick


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Only 7 rounds left, and fight at both ends couldn't be more interesting !

San Martin 1 - Godoy Cruz 0

It was really a great and very entertaining derby the one played between San Martin and Godoy Cruz.
Really intense, both teams giving everything and San Martin took the 3 points but it should have been clearly a draw because some of the scoring chances that the visitors missed were unbelievable.
Even San Martin's new coach, Facundo Sava, said after the game that the visitors deserved to get the 1-1. The biggest one was one that striker Leandro Caruso hit the bar when he had the ball all to himself about 1 meter from the goal line !
It was a huge win for San Martin that puts them now out of the direct relegation zone sending Tigre into it.


Newell's 1 - All Boys 1

All Boys put Newell's in trouble with a very early goal and then just defended it.
Newell's had the ball most of the but had trouble creating any danger with it and All Boys could have finished it on a couple of counter attacks, but early in the 2nd half they received a red card and it was all for the hosts after it. The goal came very late, in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, but the draw was a fair result without a doubt.
For All Boys it was a good result even though they conceded in the last play of the game, and Newell's now watches Boca 2 points from behind.


Boca 1 - Colon 0

Boca retook the lead of Clausura with a difficult win that involved a little luck because they ended the match with 9 men due to one red card before halftime and another one in the middle of the 2nd half.
The winning goal was an amazing bicycle kick by Santiago Silva in his 1st goal at Boca stadium.
Colon missed a couple of big chances to get the equalizer and Boca was happy to waste as much time as possible especially when they were 9 vs 11.
If the visitors had taken a little more risk maybe they could have taken the 1-1, but Boca's win was probably a fair result even if it was very tight.


Independiente 2 - Banfield 0

Independiente went from doing very little in a 1st half full of hard fouls and little football, to completely dominate the 2nd half and get an absolutely deserved win.
They were so much better than Banfield in the 2nd half that it was obvious that they were going to score sooner or later, and they did it twice before the end of the game.
Banfield ? Absolutely nothing from them. They just were trying to defend and once they conceded they had no plan B at all.

Round 12 will continue today with 3 games key for the relegation battle (all times GMT-3):

15.00--Unión-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
15.00--San Lorenzo-Arsenal de Sarandí
17.15--Argentinos Juniors-Atlético Rafaela


Saturday, April 28, 2012

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UPDATE:
Independiente had a very clear and deserved win, 2-0 as predicted.
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Clausura 2012 - Round 12 - Velez UP !



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Estudiantes 0 - Velez 2

We have a new leader (at least until Boca and Newell's play today) and it's Velez who got a very easy win vs Estudiantes to open the round.
Estudiantes played well only the first 5 minutes of the game but once again showed an awful defense and it wasn't too difficult for Velez to score twice before half time and secure the win. The 2nd half was basically a waste of time with Velez relaxed and thinking on next week's game at Colombia and Estudiantes looking totally hopeless.
The day ended with...guess what ?? Yes! Estudiantes coach resigned and it's the 11th club that will change coach since Clausura started !
This ties a record in Argentina and who knows which one could be next.


Lanus 3 - Racing 1

Talking about hopeless teams, Racing joins the club with another lousy performance. Lanus didn't need a big effort to lead 2-0 before halftime, and finish it after 20 minutes of the 2nd part of the game with a beautiful finish by Silvio Romero for the 3-0.
As Velez, now Lanus can think about their midweek trip to Brazil while Racing won't change coach because they already did it 10 days ago, but at this point and after 2 years of failing with this same players they will definitely need a serious squad rebuilding once the season is over.

Round 12 will continue today with some interesting matches, including the until-yesterday-leaders Newell's and Boca, plus the Cuyo derby between San Martin and Godoy Cruz.

(all times GMT-3)
14.00--San Martín de San Juan-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
16.30--Newell's Old Boys-All Boys
18.40--Boca Juniors-Colón de Santa Fe
20.20--Independiente-Banfield

Friday, April 27, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 12 starts TODAY !!



There are still 8 of Clausura left and a lot of profit to be made !!!
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Copa Argentina continued this week with two games of the Round of 16.
Nacional B team Rosario Central beat Belgrano 2-1, but the highlight of the week was the penalty shootout between Boca and Olimpo after the 1-1 in regular time: 26 penalties were shot, 13 each, until Boca won 11-10 !!

The Quarterfinals of this new competition will be: Racing -Atletico Tucuman, Boca - Rosario Central, Tigre - Deportivo Merlo, and River is waiting for the winner of San Lorenzo - Barracas Central that will play next week.

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Clausura's Round 12 starts today and we'll have only 7 rounds left after it, what means that some teams will be playing their last championship chances this weekend.

Estudiantes is probably one of them and they will play against the always strong Velez, while Lanus, a few days before their trip to Brazil for the Round of 16 of Copa Libertadores, will host Racing.

This will be the schedule for this weekend (all times GMT-3):

Friday April 27
15.15--Estudiantes de La Plata-Vélez Sarsfield
20.15--Lanús-Racing Club

Saturday April 28
14.00--San Martín de San Juan-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
16.30--Newell's Old Boys-All Boys
18.40--Boca Juniors-Colón de Santa Fe
20.20--Independiente-Banfield


Sunday April 29
15.00--Unión-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
15.00--Argentinos Juniors-Atlético Rafaela
17.15--San Lorenzo-Arsenal de Sarandí

Monday April 30
19.20--Belgrano de Córdoba-Tigre

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 11 - Boca + Newell's



Arsenal 1 - Newell's 1

Definitely an expected result but in a game that was better thank I thought it would be, to close the round and add another leader to Clausura because Newell's now has 21 points like Boca.
Arsenal scored early in the 2nd half but Newell's got a fast equalizer when it looked like things could get tough for them. Both had big chances missed but as minutes passed and the end of the match started to get closer, they realized that the draw was not that bad and everybody was happy with it after all.

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8 rounds, about 40% of the league still to be played and we have 2 leaders (Boca, Newell's 21 pts) and 4 teams within 2 points (Velez, Tigre have 20pts and Arsenal and All Boys have 19).
With Boca and Velez focused (at least for now) in Copa Libertadores and Tigre and All Boys in avoiding relegation, the league couldn't be more open !!

This week we will have the last 3 Round of 16 games of Copa Libertadores...well, at least we are supposed to have them.
All games should be played on Wednesday Boca-Olimpo at 22.00 (at the province of Catamarca), Rosario Central - Belgrano was confirmed today to be played at 20.00 (at San Juan).

The remaining game is San Lorenzo - Barracas Central (Primera B team, 3rd division), that was going to be played at Lanus at 19.00, but for the 1000th time it seems like they have to change the venue (it was going to be played at Chaco last week, then in Buenos Aires and 3 different stadiums were mentioned) so at this moment nothing is confirmed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Round 12 will start next Friday and will feature some interesting games, like the big "Cuyo derby" between San Martin and Godoy Cruz, the leader Boca will play at home against the uprising Colon and the other leader, Newell's hosts 3rd placed All Boys.

This should be the schedule but as usual there could be changes :

Friday April 27
15.15--Estudiantes de La Plata-Vélez Sarsfield
20.15--Lanús-Racing Club

Saturday April 28
14.00--San Martín de San Juan-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba.
16.30--Newell's Old Boys-All Boys
18.40--Boca Juniors-Colón de Santa Fe
20.20--Independiente-Banfield


Sunday April 29
15.00--Unión-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
15.00--Argentinos Juniors-Atlético Rafaela
17.15--San Lorenzo-Arsenal de Sarandí

Monday April 30
19.20--Belgrano de Córdoba-Tigre

Standings:




Averages (Promedios) Table (http://www.argentinapreviews.com/2010/05/how-are-relegations-decided.html) :




Monday, April 23, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 11 - Who wants to be the leader ?



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With only 1 game left in round 11, things can't get any more tight at the top as we have now Boca as the leader with 20 points, followed by a many teams in a few points and tonight Arsenal - Newell's can join or surpass them.

Round 11 started on Friday...

Tigre 1 - Olimpo 0

It was a tighter game than I expected as both teams, but especially Tigre, looked really nervous.
The first 35 minutes passed with barely any scoring positions, a lot of fouls and very poor football, and it was then when the hosts scored the only goal of the game by midfielder Galmarini who was at least 1 meter in offside. The bad refereeing didn't end there and two minutes later a Tigre defender received a direct red card for punching an Olimpo player (he actually only pushed him on the chest and not that strong).
The game changed in the 2nd half where Olimpo had the ball possession but they were harmless and more hopeless than usual, Tigre couldn't score on the few counter attacks they had (actually they did but another bad referee decision disallowed it) and the game just ended with both teams protesting to the referee who had to leave the field with many policemen around him.


Colon 1 - Argentinos Jrs 0

Few times I've seen a team missing so many chances to score like Colon did today. They could have won it 4-0 and I swear I'm not exaggerating.
They hit the post 3 times in the 1st half, including an unbelievable shot that hit one post, went along the goal line, touched the other post and went back out !
Colon scored the deserved 1-0 with a few minutes later in the 1st half and the 2nd part was not much different as they missed at least 2 or 3 very easy one on one with the goalkeeper that they finished awfully.
They almost paid for missing so many chances in the end, when in the last second of the game the visitors had their best chance but to continue with Colon's style they finished it poorly and the shot went wide.
Absolutely deserved win for Colon who probably played their best game of Clausura.


Velez 0 - Lanus 0

Velez and Lanus played a disappointing game, not a boring one, but more was expected from both teams according to the offensive potential they have.
The hosts were better than Lanus who gave up on attacking after receiving a red card late in the 2nd half but Velez failed to win at home again and could end the round 3 points behind the leaders.


Atletico Rafaela 3 - Estudiantes 2

Rafaela took advantage of this unbelievable Estudiantes, who jumped from championship candidated to 3 defeats in the last 4 games and now looks like a complete disaster.
The awful defending by the visitors made things much easier for Rafaela who had a huge win to stay out of the promotion playoff places at least for this round.
Estudiantes might end the round 7 points from the leaders but anyway there's no chance they can fight for anything playing like this.


Racing 1 - San Martin de San Juan 0

Racing didn't play a good game but they won for the 2nd time in a row (the midweek game for Copa Argentina is the other one) and of course nothing else matters for a team that had an awful week with all kind of troubles after losing the derby vs Independiente.
They were always better than a very poor San Martin who was trying to hold to the draw, and it took them 83 minutes and a red card for the visitors to score the winning goal, but it was a deserved one for sure. The visitors received a 2nd red card in the end, they are now in direct relegation and in trouble because after the game coach Daniel Garnero, who was the coach since they were in 2nd division last season, resigned and they will now have to find a new one for the last 8 rounds.


All Boys 2 - Union 1

All Boys won a huge game for them and they are getting every week further above the promotion playoffs zone.
Furious start, attacking a lot and quickly scored 2 goals that were deserved. The 2-1 came before HT and although Union almost got the equalizer in the end, the home win was more than fair and could have happened by a bigger difference if All Boys had finished better their scoring chances.

Banfield 1 -San Lorenzo 1

Even if I obviously wanted San Lorenzo win, there's no shame on saying that the 94th minute equalizer for Banfield was absolutely deserved because they had played much better even if they didn't have many clear scoring chances.
San Lorenzo's game was good defensively despite a couple of mistakes, but was awful in offense where the only chances to score came through long shots. When they scored the 0-1 not much was happening and not much happened after it either until the 4th minute of stoppage time when Banfield scored with a header off a corner kick a goal that was like a punch in the stomach for San Lorenzo.
The round ends with San Martin (with no coach) and Olimpo in direct relegation, and Tigre and San Lorenzo in the promotion playoffs zone separated only by 2 points.


Godoy Cruz 0 - Independiente 0

Godoy Cruz and Independiente played the worst game of the round on a pitch in bad conditions that didn't help at all.
Independiente started better, Godoy Cruz had a couple of chances as well and the ball possession through most of the game but they couldn't score and completed their 9th league game without a win while the visitors continues on a good run, but probably not good enough to fight for the championship.


Belgrano 1 - Boca 1

The last game of Sunday showed a Boca that looked a little tired and maybe not completely focused. Belgrano was like Tigre last week, but without their best attacking player they coulnd't do much.
Boca got only 1 of the last 6 points and even though their championship chances are obviously still alive, it looks like if they advance in Copa Libertadores they will sooner or later start giving up and using very mixed lineups. The draw was good enough for both in the end as showed by the very little offensive attitude both teams had in the last 15-20 minutes.


The round ends today with Arsenal at home vs Newell's, and one of both will be the leader of Clausura, together with Boca or alone depending on the result.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 11 starts tonight ! (plus Copa Libertadores Round of 16 draw)



There's still half of Clausura and a lot of profit to be made !!!
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Copa Libertadores groups stage is over, and the best of this great competition is coming now.

This will be the Round of 16 series (1st team plays at home in the 1st leg):

A: Inter (Brazil) - Fluminense (Brazil)
B: Emelec (Ecuador) – Corinthians (Brazil)
C: Bolívar (Bolivia) - Santos (Brazil)
D: Deportivo Quito (Ecuador) – Universidad de Chile
E: Libertad (Paraguay) – Cruz Azul (Mexico)
F: Atlético Nacional (Colombia) - Vélez
G: Vasco da Gama (Brazil) – Lanús
H: Boca – Unión Española (Chile)


* A and B will play next week, all the other Round of 16 matches 1st leg will be on the week of Wednesday 2/5.

* In Quarterfinals, A vs H, B vs G, C vs F, etc, etc. This means that no Argentinean teams can meet until the semifinals.

* Boca is the only of the 3 Argentinean teams that finished in 2nd place in their group, and curiously they seem to have the easiest rival !

* Of the 3, Velez's path seems to be the toughest: first they have to eliminate a very offensive team like Atl. Nacional, and then they would play against 2011 champion, Neymar's Santos !

* Terrible series coming. I'm looking forward to watch all of them but especially Atl. Nacional - Velez, Inter - Fluminense, Deportivo Quito - Universidad de Chile.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

There's still half of Clausura and a lot of profit to be made !!!
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Back to Argentina because Round 11 starts tonight with a FINAL for the relegation fight between Tigre and Olimpo.

This will be the complete Round 11 schedule (all times GMT-3) where the leader Boca will visit the always tough Belgrano, and the other top team of Clausura, Newell's, will visit the surprising Arsenal.

Friday April 20
21.15--Tigre-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca

Saturday April 21
14.00--Colón de Santa Fe-Argentinos Juniors
16.10--Vélez Sarsfield-Lanús
16.10--Atlético Rafaela-Estudiantes de La Plata
20.30--Racing Club-San Martín de San Juan

Sunday April 22

15.00--All Boys-Unión de Santa Fe
15.15--Banfield-San Lorenzo
17.15--Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Independiente
19.15--Belgrano de Córdoba-Boca Juniors

Monday April 23
19.10--Arsenal F.C.-Newell's Old Boys

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 10 Standings + Averages Table + More



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Round 10 ended last night with:

Lanus 1 - Atletico Rafaela 0

Lanus needed a penalty to break their terrible Clausura streak in a game they should have won at least by 2 or 3 goals.
Atletico Rafaela was as weak as usual and lost their 10th game of the last 11 away but they stayed closed to a draw only because Lanus's offense was in a terrible night and they missed at least 2 clear chances in each half to win the game without any problems.
Rafaela's defeat put them only a few decimals above from the promotion playoffs zone and if they don't win next week they are in big danger of falling in there so this result was great news for San Lorenzo, San Martin and Tigre.

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A small update on this weekend's Teofilo Gutierrez soap opera (or was it an action movie now that was confirmed that there was a gun involved ?):

* New coach Luis Zubeldia already started working today with the team (that was a fast hiring !!), and the club board already confirmed that Teofilo Gutierrez and Claudio Yacob (remember he already had problems when the semester started and he didn't want to go to the bench) won't play anymore for Racing and from tomorrow they will start training with the reserves team.

The gun story was confirmed, and also that it was a paintball gun (air gun) that he was going to use after the game to play that game with some friends and family (!!). The truth is also that some of his team mates were probably making a line to punch him since last year when he arrived late from Colombia before the derby vs Boca and he was sent off in a pretty similar situation to the one last Saturday.

What will be of his future ?
Latest reports say that Lanus could be interested on hiring him to play in Copa Libertadores (he wouldn't be allowed in the league of course) and Racing might not see this as a bad idea.
My opinion is that it would be a stupid move by Lanus. They would be including a guy with a bad reputation in a team that already has a lot of attacking players. How would they feel about it ?
So my bet is that this won't happen and he will just stay in Racing without playing until the season ends.

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Before Round 11 starts next Friday we will have two more Round of 16 games of Copa Argentina this week (remember Tigre, River and Atletico Tucuman are already in Quarterfinals), both to be played on Wednesday:

Deportivo Merlo vs Sarmiento de Junin (2nd div vs 3rd div (metropolitan))

Racing vs Sarmiento de Chaco (1st div vs 4th div (regional))

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Round 11 Schedule has one of the leaders, Boca, visiting the tough Belgrano while Newell's will visit Arsenal on Monday.
Also the relegation battle will have two important games All Boys-Union and Racing-San Martin de San Juan (Racing has to start looking at the Averages table carefully):

Friday April 20
21.15--Tigre-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca

Saturday April 21
14.00--Colón de Santa Fe-Argentinos Juniors
16.10--Vélez Sarsfield-Lanús
16.10--Atlético Rafaela-Estudiantes de La Plata
20.30--Racing Club-San Martín de San Juan

Sunday April 22
15.00--All Boys-Unión de Santa Fe
15.00--Banfield-San Lorenzo
17.10--Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Independiente
19.15--Belgrano de Córdoba-Boca Juniors

Monday April 23
19.10--Arsenal F.C.-Newell's Old Boys

Standings:




Averages (Promedios) Table (http://www.argentinapreviews.com/2010/05/how-are-relegations-decided.html) :