Friday, June 29, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Relegation Playoffs - Almost there...



After the two 1st legs of the relegation playoffs we have one series almost decided, and the other one very open...

Instituto 0 - San Lorenzo 2

After today's San Lorenzo win and performance I feel like I weight 10000kg less. Not even in a very optimistic day I would have thought that San Lorenzo was going to control the game like they did, especially in the 2nd half.
Instituto played well for 5-10 minutes in the 1st half when they had a ball cleared on the line and a long shot saved by the visitor's goalkeeper, but everything else was for San Lorenzo who had two huge chances in the 1st half (one hit the bar). They didn't dominate the ball or had a lot of possession, but they were under control in defense and always looked dangerous in attack.
The 1st goal killed Instituto, the 2nd one came pretty easy and if San Lorenzo was a good team they could have won it by a bigger difference. Some would say it was lucky that they didn't because after the 0-2 some Instituto "barras bravas" started to break the fence to try to suspend the game.
Curiously this was the first time in promotion playoffs history (between 1st and 2nd div, since 2000 so it's 26 series including this year) that the 1st division team wins away by 2 goals in the 1st leg !!!
Now Instituto needs to win on Sunday by 3 or more goals which I would say looks really difficult, but football is football and nobody can celebrate before the games are played.


Rosario Central 0 - San Martin de San Juan 0

Rosario Central was definitely the better side but they missed some huge chances to score the winning goal and they now have no choice but to win at San Juan next Sunday. San Martin had a superb performance by goalkeeper Luis Ardente (2nd goalkeeper, finally recovered from an injury) and a little luck to get the result they wanted and now with another draw they will stay one more season in 1st division.
History says that in relegation playoffs between 1st and 2nd division, only once the 2nd div team was promoted after a draw in the 1st leg and that happened to...Rosario Central !! who 2 years ago drew 1-1 at All Boys and when they only needed a draw at home they lost 0-3, but records are meant to be broken and I think anything can happen in the 2nd leg.


Once again, remember that away goals do not count and if after both legs we have the same points + goals difference, each team stays in the same division.

This is the schedule for the 2nd legs, and final games of the 2011/2012 season (kick off times are GMT-3):

14.10-- San Lorenzo vs Instituto
16.20-- San Martín de San Juan vs Rosario Central

Monday, June 25, 2012

Clausura 2012: Arsenal Campeon...and San Lorenzo lives another week !!!


Sorry Arsenal, but today's main picture is for my team.

What a day...as crazy as expected.
I don't know where to start but I could say that as you know we have a champion and it's Arsenal.
How did this happen ? How is that the smallest club in 1st division and a team that nobody was speaking about only 3 weeks ago won their first championship ever ?
Well, as much as I would like to blame their connection to the Grondona family (and many people is of course doing it here) I have to admit that they were a fair champion.
They were mostly regular during the tournament and came from behind to get their first championship.

Arsenal won it because Tigre couldn't win.
Weird result, especially Independiente's reaction in the 2nd half, but in the end they celebrated like they've won the championship because they finished the season safe in the Averages table which was their main priority.
The weirdest thing is that they achieved it only with a draw because San Martin lost. Yes, San Lorenzo, their main rival all season, made them avoid the promotion playoffs !!!!

Safe draw for Union, safe win for Rafaela, All Boys destroyed Boca...and San Lorenzo won !!
Came from a 0-1 (ok, the 1-1 could have been called a foul on the goalkeeper) and got a miraculous win in the end. It wasn't a good performance at all, the players were extremely nervous but well, don't ask me for a good report at this moment, the thing is that we are alive at least for another week.

Banfield is relegated, and I can't understand how this happened. This season they did 41 points less than Tigre and 22 points less than San Lorenzo.
The only way to explain it is that for some reason they did it on porpoise because they are obviously not a good team but they don't have that awful players to have such a huge break down.

So, this leaves us with no need of playoffs to untie (at HT Tigre had to play a playoff for the title and another one to see if they could avoid the relegation playoffs!!!) and the relegation playoffs settled for Thursday and Sunday (kick off times to be determined):

San Lorenzo - Instituto
San Martin - Rosario Central

First leg is played at the 2nd division team stadium, away goals don't count and if after both games the teams have the same points and goals difference then each team stays in the same division, so this means that two draws are good enough for San Lorenzo and San Martin.

Below you can find the goals from the San Lorenzo game, a little show of the fans celebrating after the match and a video of how Arsenal fans and players waited the last minute for Tigre's game to end so they could celebrate the championship








Sunday, June 24, 2012

Clausura 2012 Definition day is here !!!



And it's now time to move on to the last round of Clausura 2012 and probably one of the most craziest we've ever seen.



Today we will have 7 games at the same time that will decide the championship or the relegation...or not, because there are many chances that 2 or more teams can end tied at both ends of the table what means that we could have playoff games to untie them !!!

As I mentioned a few days ago, the detailed explanation and different possibilities for each team that will decide their fate this Sunday is reserved to paid customers of the Argentina Previews service, so as usual if you want to join just email me to mncarg@gmail.com and you can start the 2012/2013 season of Argentine football with all the best information.

Updated standings and Averages table can be found on the link below, and this is the planned schedule (all kick off times are GMT-3):

15.00-- San Lorenzo-San Martín de San Juan
15.00-- Unión de Santa Fe-Estudiantes de La Plata
15.00-- All Boys-Boca Juniors
15.00-- Arsenal F.C.-Belgrano
15.00-- Banfield-Colón de Santa Fe
15.00-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Atlético Rafaela
15.00-- Tigre-Independiente

River es de Primera !!! (and Quilmes too)


Nacional B is over and River Plate is back in 1st division as also is Quilmes, both relegated only a year ago.

Really it was a great day to enjoy as a neutral fan because of the changing results and in the end we had two fair promoted teams because they were the ones that could hold until the end while Instituto and Rosario Central were slowing down in the last few weeks and had to put up with the 3rd and 4th place respectively after clearly losing their games of this last round.

In the relegation places there were no big surprises.
Chacarita won their game since very early and never looked back so they didn't care about Atlanta (lost 0-2) and Desamparados, who surprisingly beat Rosario Central 3-2. Atlanta goes back to "Primera B" (metropolitan 3rd division) and Desamparados to "Torneo Argentino A" (regional 3rd division) while Chacarita will play the relegation playoffs.

As you know I'm not a River fan but I'm happy they are back because big teams belong in 1st division and they categorize every tournament they play.
It definitely wasn't a walk in the park for them as some probably thought it would be, and yes, they received a little help from referees more than once, but in the end having quality players like Cavenaghi, "Chori" Dominguez and David Trezeguet, made a huge difference for them and they are a fair winner of this tournament.

This were today's David Trezeguet goals (and I'm sure the French would have loved to have them in the Euro QF game vs Spain! ;) ) and below Quilmes goals that send both back to Primera Division.






Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nacional B 2011/2012 - Definition Day



BIG Nacional B day that will have 6 games at the same time to decide both promotion and the relegations.
Satellite TV provider Directv will have a special channel both on Saturday and Sunday showing 4 games at the same time in what promises to be a day to remember in Argentine football !!!

The schedule (all games kick off at 3pm local time):
River - Almirante Brown
Desamparados - Rosario Central
Instituto - Ferro
Guillermo Brown - Quilmes
Atlanta - Huracan
Chacarita - Patronato

The title situation:

* River & Instituto 70pts, Quilmes and Rosario Central 69pts. Top two go back to 1st division, 3rd and 4th placed will play the promotion playoffs with San Lorenzo or Banfield or San Martin, etc, etc.
* Obviously River and Instituto will go to 1st division with a win, while Rosario and Quilmes need to win and hope that one of the top 2 don't.
* If there's a tie between 1st and 2nd or 3rd and 4th, it doesn't matter, it's decided on goals difference. But if there's a tie between 2nd and 3rd, or a 3 teams tie, or a 4 teams tie (!!!) we will need playoff games in neutral ground to untie them.
* The most "favored" team in this last round seems to be Quilmes because they will be playing away against Guillermo Brown (a team from the south of Argentina, 1400km from Buenos Aires) who is already confirmed in one of the relegation playoff places and because they will have to play next Wednesday they've already confirmed that they will use a reserves lineup.

Relegation situtation:

* As I wrote before, Guillermo Brown is already confirmed in a relegation playoff place. They can't avoid it.
* Two of Desamparados, Atlanta and Chacarita will be relegated and the other one will play a relegation playoff.
* Desamparados and Atlanta are tied in the two direct relegation places and they have no choice but to win and hope that Chacarita doesn't. If Chacarita wins, they are automatically relegated.
* If Chacarita wins they will play the relegation playoff. If they lose and Atlanta or Desamparados win, they are relegated.
* Here comes the crazy possibility: If Chacarita draws and Atlanta or Desamparados win, there will be a 2 teams tie...or a 3 teams tie and if this happens they will have to play a playoff game (or round robin if there are 3) where the winner plays relegation playoffs and the loser (or losers) are automatically relegated.

It might sound like a cliche but I say this today and I will repeat it tomorrow: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
I know that on paper some results look obvious but it's become really common in Argentine football that "must win situations" become the worst nightmare for teams and players and the fear of losing sometimes exceeds them.

Standings:




Averages Table:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Clausura 2012 - The last round starts today !!



Boca advanced to the final of Copa Libertadores in one of the most crazy 0-0 I've seen because of the many chances both teams missed.
Boca could have finished the 1st half winning 2-0. They had lots of open spaces in attack but Pablo Mouche was in a terrible night and missed lots of good opportunities to score. In the 2nd half they had a good positions as well but it was the hosts who dominated and couldn't score at least 1 goal that would have given us a great finish to watch.
3 balls in the posts, good saves by both goalkeepers...should have been a 2-2 but it was probably the best 0-0 I've seen in a very long time.

So Boca ties Peñarol's record of 10 Libertadores finals (they won 6 of the 9 they've played so far) and they will play against Corinthians, one of Brazil giants who curiously reached the final for the first time.
The 1st leg will be played next Wednesday at Buenos Aires, and the 2nd leg one week later at Sao Paulo. Corinthians arrives at this final undefeated (7 wins, 5 draws) while Boca has only one defeat (back in the groups stage, 1-2 at home vs Fluminense).
Remember that away goals don't count on the finals and in case the results + goals difference is the same, we have a 30 min ET and then a penalties shootout.

One crazy record: it's been 20 years since the last time a Brazilian team beat an Argentine team in a Copa Libertadores final, when Sao Paulo beat Newell's (coached by Marcelo Bielsa) on a penalty shootout. Since then they met 5 times and Argentine teams always won (Boca 3 times, Velez once and Estudiantes once).
Will Corinthians break this streak and claim their first Libertadores title or will Boca win it for the 7th time to tie Independiente's record ?

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

And it's now time to move on to the last round of Clausura 2012 and probably one of the most craziest we've ever seen.



Besides 3 meaningless games that will be played today and on Saturday, we will have a Sunday with 7 games at the same time that will decide the championship or the relegation...or not, because there are many chances that 2 or more teams can end tied at both ends of the table what means that we could have playoff games to untie them !!!

As I mentioned a few days ago, the detailed explanation and different possibilities for each team that will decide their fate this Sunday is reserved to paid customers of the Argentina Previews service, so as usual if you want to join just email me to mncarg@gmail.com and you can start the 2012/2013 season of Argentine football with all the best information.

Updated standings and Averages table can be found on the link below, and this is the planned schedule (all kick off times are GMT-3):

Friday June 22
15.00-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-Argentinos Juniors
19.15-- Newell's Old Boys-Lanús


Saturday June 23
20.20-- Racing Club-Vélez Sarsfield

Sunday June 24
15.00-- San Lorenzo-San Martín de San Juan
15.00-- Unión de Santa Fe-Estudiantes de La Plata
15.00-- All Boys-Boca Juniors
15.00-- Arsenal F.C.-Belgrano
15.00-- Banfield-Colón de Santa Fe
15.00-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Atlético Rafaela
15.00-- Tigre-Independiente


Monday, June 18, 2012

Clausura 2012 - Round 18 - Insane Ending



If I wrote last week that there was madness when the 17th round ended, there's no way to describe what happened this week at the top of the league.

Boca, a lock to win the title 2 weeks ago, lost 0-3 at home vs Arsenal who is now at the top of the league with Tigre, who also won a huge game at Velez.
They are 2 points above Boca with only 1 round left and like I said last week GOALS DIFFERENCE DO NOT COUNT so if both win in the last round we will have a final playoff game in neutral ground to decide the championship.

Or we could even have a round robin mini tournament with 3 teams if they both draw and Boca wins !!

And what happens at the bottom of the Averages table is simply unbelievable.
We have 6 teams trying to avoid the promotion playoffs and 3 of them can fall in the direct relegation !!!

I will leave the analysis and different possibilities of this last round (the number of possible combinations is enormous) for the paid customers of Argentina Previews, but this are the updated standings and fixtures for the last round of Clausura that will be played next weekend.

Also Round 18 ends today when Godoy Cruz visits Colon in the last game of the hosts all time top scorer, 39 years old Esteban "Bichi" Fuertes who will retire after next week's game.

Round 18 results:

Lanús 0 -Unión de Santa Fe 0
San Martín de San Juan 2 -Newell's Old Boys 1
Belgrano de Córdoba 3 -Banfield 1
Estudiantes de La Plata 1 -Olimpo de Bahía Blanca 0
Vélez Sarsfield 0 -Tigre 1
Argentinos Juniors 1 -All Boys 0
Independiente 0 -San Lorenzo 0
Atlético Rafaela 4 -Racing Club 2
Boca Juniors 0 -Arsenal 3

Monday June 18
20.20-- Colón de Santa Fe-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba


Round 19 Schedule:

San Lorenzo-San Martín de San Juan
Newell's Old Boys-Lanús
Unión de Santa Fe-Estudiantes de La Plata
All Boys-Boca Juniors
Arsenal F.C.-Belgrano
Banfield-Colón de Santa Fe
Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Atlético Rafaela
Racing Club-Vélez Sarsfield
Tigre-Independiente



Standings:





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