Friday, August 31, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 5 Starts Today + Copa Sudamericana recap



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In the end all 3 teams that had a good result after the 1st leg, advanced in Copa Sudamericana.
Independiente on away goals, and Tigre and Colon by winning both legs.

Tigre did it with a very convincing 6-2 in aggregate, but the 4-1 in the 2nd leg was nowhere close to how they game was. Very poor match, and when Tigre scored the 1st goal the series was completely over. Penalty before halftime and an Argentinos goal with few minutes left put a more normal 2-1, but in two counter attacks in stoppage time Tigre scored 2 goals for a bigger win than what they deserved.

Racing started like if they were going to get a huge win, scored the 1-0 after 3 minutes and had a 2nd one disallowed for offside only before the 10th minute but as the 1st half went by they started slowing down and right when they were expected to go for the 2nd goal they needed in the 2nd half, Colon scored the equalizer and a 2nd goal to leave the hosts with another frustration to deal with.
Colon seems unstoppable. 5 wins and 1 draw in 6 matches this season and playing some moments of very entertaining football but it's still too early in the season to know how far they can go.

Independiente, Tigre and Colon will have to wait until next week to know who they will meet in the next stage of Copa Sudamericana.

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Round 5 will start tonight with two teams that still couldn't win and are desperate to get one and will continue during the weekend with some other very interesting matches like Newell's - Estudiantes and the leader Colon hosting River Plate:

Round 5 schedule (all kick off times are GMT-3)

Friday August 31
20.30--All Boys-Unión

Saturday September 1
16.15--Newell´s Old Boys-Estudiantes de La Plata
19.00--Arsenal F.C. - Lanús
20.20--Vélez Sarsfield-Belgrano de Córdoba

Sunday September 2

14.10--Tigre-San Lorenzo
16.15--Boca Juniors-Atlético de Rafaela
18.15--Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Independiente
20.15--Colón-River Plate


Monday September 3

17.10--Quilmes A.C. - Argentinos Juniors
20.30--Racing Club-San Martín de San Juan



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 4 - Could this be Colon's year ?



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Could this be Colon's year ?
Only 4 rounds played (plus the 1st leg of their Copa Sudamericana series) and they are winning games with authority when they deserve it, and also when they don't like it happened tonight against Estudiantes. Very balanced and dull game, it was almost a miracle that it had 3 goals.
The visitors scored on what was basically their only shot at goal of the 1st half (Estudiantes didn't do much either). It took almost the whole 2nd half to Estudiantes to get a deserved equalizer, and only a few minutes later they wasted it with a hand in the box that was a penalty and the winning goal for Colon.

The Santa Fe team is now the only leader with 10 points, followed by Boca with 9 and a big group of teams with 7-8 points.
After 4 rounds we still have 6 undefeated teams, one that didn't concede (Newell's) and one that didn't score (Independiente).

Talking about Independiente, not only they are the only team without a goal scored in Inicial, but also they are the first team to change coach this season.

Americo "Tolo" Gallego will be the new Independiente coach and will debut next Sunday at Godoy Cruz. Fans love him and didn't accept any other coach.

As a player (defensive midfielder) he won the 1978 World Cup for Argentina, and he played his whole career half at Newell's and half at River. As a coach he worked at River where he won two championships, and also one at Newell's in 2004.
This will be the third time he'll work at Independiente, the first one was a decade ago when they won the last championship in 2002, the 2nd one in 2009 when he ended 3rd, but his contract wasn't renewed because the club board decided that it was too expensive.
He's a good coach and on paper should be able to make a better job than the inexperienced Cristian Diaz, but we'll see if the third time is also the charm.


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All 3 Copa Sudamericana series involving Argentinean teams will have their 2nd legs played this week.
After the 3-3 in last week's derby, Boca needs to win at Independiente (or draw 3-3 for a penalties shootout and 4-4 to advance, same for Argentinos Juniors at Tigre (1-2) in the first leg and Racing, who not only needs to win but also do it at least by 2 goals (Colon won 3-1 the 1st leg).

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Round 5 will be played next weekend and the game that stands out is the leader Colon hosting River.
This will be the full schedule (all kick off times in GMT-3):

Friday August 31
20.10--All Boys-Unión

Saturday September 1
16.15--Newell´s Old Boys-Estudiantes de La Plata
19.10--Arsenal F.C. - Lanús
20.20--Vélez Sarsfield-Belgrano de Córdoba

Sunday September 2
14.10--Tigre-San Lorenzo
16.15--Boca Juniors-Atlético de Rafaela
18.15--Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Independiente
20.15--Colón-River Plate

Monday September 3
17.10--Quilmes A.C. - Argentinos Juniors
19.15--Racing Club-San Martín de San Juan

Standings:


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 4 - The round that almost wasn't played



Weird situation (another one!) in the last 48 hrs in Argentinean football.

To explain it as easy and short as possible: I'm not sure if this happens everywhere in the world (it's very possible that it does) but players' agents here found a way to avoid paying local taxes that are more expensive than in neighbor countries so what they do is when there's a free agent they enroll him in a team from Chile (Union San Felipe) or Uruguay (Fenix, and others) and then make the transfer like the player is on loan or something from there.

Of course the player was never there, maybe not even in that country !

This is not illegal, but it's obviously a tax evasion maneuver so the government taxes agency (AFIP) decided to finally investigate what is going on (obviously this is not new) and now they want the agents and clubs to sort their finances. The players are not officially suspended but the AFIP and AFA agreed with the clubs that they won't use this players as a sign of good will at least this weekend while the investigation starts.

In my opinion this is very good news and hopefully it will be done seriously. More controlled agents means more controlled clubs, and less waste money (or robbed) by the club's management.

Because of this arrangement the round will be played as usual and will start today with 4 matches, but the most important one this round is without any doubts the derby between River and San Lorenzo that will be played on Sunday.

The full (and updated) schedule is this (kick off times in GMT-3):


Saturday August 25
16.10-- Unión – Boca Juniors
16.10-- All Boys – Tigre
18.15-- Argentinos Juniors – Godoy Cruz
20.20-- Independiente – Arsenal F.C.


Sunday August 26
15.00-- Atlético de Rafaela – Quilmes
15.10-- Belgrano – Newell’s Old Boys
17.10-- Lanús - Racing Club
17.15-- San Martín de San Juan – Vélez Sarsfield
19.15-- River Plate - San Lorenzo


Monday August 27
19.15-- Estudiantes de La Plata – Colón

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There are still 16 rounds to make profit with Argentinean football.
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 3 - King of Avellaneda



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The very wet third round of Inicial 2012 has finished, and the highlight of the weekend is of course Racing's 2-0 win in the derby vs Independiente that sent them to the top of the league, shared with Newell's, Quilmes, Colon and Godoy Cruz.

That Racing could win the derby was a possibility, but I never imagined they would do it with authority like they did.
The first 20 minutes were balanced but everything changed after the 1-0. Independiente had almost no chances to get an equalizer and things got even worst after a red card before halftime.
It was only a matter of time until Racing scored the second goal on a counter attack and they did it with 15 minutes left to get one of those huge confidence boost.
Definitely an awful result for Independiente. They are at the bottom of the Averages table, they have no goals scored in the season and this week they have to play at Boca the first leg of Copa Sudamericana.

Quilmes, Racing, Godoy Cruz, Newell's and Colon are leaders with 7 points, besides them also Arsenal and Belgrano are still undefeated.
At the bottom we have San Martin, Union and Tigre with 0 points, and while Newell's is the only team that still didn't concede a goal, Independiente is the only one that still didn't score one.
In the Averages table San Lorenzo, San Martin and Independiente are in direct relegation zone, but they still have 35 more rounds left to avoid this.

Below you can watch all the Round 3 goals, and I especially recommend you Newell's 2nd goal by Ignacio Scocco, a candidate for goal of the year in Argentina:

Round 3 results:

Colón de Santa Fe 2 – Belgrano de Córdoba 2
Racing Club 2 – Independiente 0
Boca Juniors 3 - All Boys 1
San Lorenzo 0 - Estudiantes de La Plata
1
Godoy Cruz 2 - Atlético de Rafaela 0
Vélez Sarsfield 0 - Lanús 2
Tigre 2 - River Plate 3

Quilmes 2 - Unión 1
Arsenal F.C. 2 – Argentinos Juniors 2
Newell’s Old Boys 2 – San Martín de San Juan 0

Goal of the Round:




All the goals:





Round 4 won't have any Friday games (probably because all the Copa Sudamericana series including all 6 teams participating will have their 2nd legs next week) and the most important game is without any doubts the River - San Lorenzo derby.

This will be the complete schedule of Round 4 (all times GMT-3):

Saturday August 25
14.00-- Unión – Boca Juniors
16.10-- All Boys – Tigre
18.15-- Argentinos Juniors – Godoy Cruz
20.20-- Independiente – Arsenal F.C.


Sunday August 26
15.00-- Atlético de Rafaela – Quilmes
17.10-- Belgrano – Newell’s Old Boys
17.15-- San Martín de San Juan – Vélez Sarsfield
19.15-- River Plate - San Lorenzo


Monday August 27
18.10-- Estudiantes de La Plata – Colón
20.15-- Lanús – Racing Club

Standings:



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There are still 17 rounds to make profit with Argentinean football.
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Will it ever stop ??



Water, water, more water, and then even more water, that's the best way to describe the last 10 days in Buenos Aires and some other parts of the country.
And of course this unbelievable amount of rain brought a schedule chaos.

If AFA is normally a big chaos, can you imagine when they have to postpone games and there are not many free dates to play them ??

The forecast says it will continue raining tomorrow probably until the early afternoon and then stop (pleasseeeee!!!!) until Monday.

Remember Argentinean football is VERY "Buenos Aires-centric" (including some Nacional B teams), what means that every re-schedule needs to be analyzed because you don't want to have two teams with dangerous "barras bravas" playing at the same time in close stadiums

So, this are the news at 1am local time:

* As you probably know by now Colon - Belgrano was postponed for Saturday at 18.00 local time...if it stops raining at Santa Fe.

* The derby Racing - Independiente has been postponed, the idea is to play it on Sunday at 11am local time, should be confirmed early today.

* Boca wants to suspend/postpone their match vs All Boys for Sunday.
Why ? This next Wednesday Boca - Independiente play Copa Sudamericana, and Boca is afraid that Independiente game could be suspended also on Sunday and they would play it less rested.
The official word for now is that the game is not suspended, we'll see tomorrow.

* No news about San Lorenzo - Estudiantes and not comments about suspending it for now. The game is very late (8.20pm) so if it stops raining in the early afternoon it should be played without much problems.


Let's pray for a dry Saturday + Sunday so we can watch some football this weekend !!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 3 starts today !!




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Argentinos Jrs 1 - Tigre 2
Copa Sudamericana, 2nd stage, 1st leg

Great win for Tigre as they put one step in the next round of Copa Sudamericana with that 2-1 at Argentinos Juniors who completed their 3rd defeat in a row.
They definitely didn't deserve to win it because with very little Argentinos had been better, but the hosts showed once again a very weak defense and every time they tried to put a lot of people in attack they ended very open in the back leaving a lot of space for Tigre's counter attacks.
Boring 1st half, very entertaining 2nd one and the goal in stoppage time put Tigre obviously in the better position to advance. Second leg will be at Tigre in 2 weeks and Argentinos will have to win plus score at least 2 away goals.

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Round 3 of Inicial 2012 will start tonight as we will find out which teams could be championship material, something very difficult to imagine after two extremely balanced and very even rounds.

The round will start with the only leader Colon hosting another undefeated team, Belgrano, who after a surprising win at River in the first game of the season was only able to take a draw against a San Lorenzo team that played for 40 minutes with 10 men.

The must watch game of the round is of course the Avellaneda derby, Racing - Independiente, the match between neighbors that is one of the biggest "clasicos" of this league.
You can read a little more about rivalries in this short article I wrote a couple of years ago: http://argentinapreviews.blogspot.com/2010/06/rivalries.html


This will be the round 3 schedule (all times in GMT-3):


Friday August 17

21.10-- Colón de Santa Fe – Belgrano de Córdoba

Saturday August 18
14.00-- Racing Club – Independiente
16.10-- Boca Juniors - All Boys
20.20-- San Lorenzo - Estudiantes de La Plata


Sunday August 19
15.00-- Godoy Cruz - Atlético de Rafaela
17.15-- Vélez Sarsfield - Lanús
19.15-- Tigre - River Plate


Monday August 20
15.00-- Quilmes - Unión
17.10-- Arsenal F.C. – Argentinos Juniors
19.15-- Newell’s Old Boys – San Martín de San Juan

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 2 - Only Colon



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Two rounds of Inicial 2012 played and we only have one team that won both games, Colon, who is obviously the only leader with 6 points.
But curiously we also still have 12 undefeated teams, 5 that lost both and 4 that still couldn't even score a goal.

This very poor round in terms of goals, only 11 scored (lowest in 10 years, since Apertura 2002), saw River bouncing back from the 1st round defeat to win at Estudiantes 2-0 with two goals in the 2nd half by Rogelio Funes Mori.

Boca kept their good moment and after winning Copa Argentina last Wednesday they beat Tigre 2-0 in a game where they didn't play well at all and showed that they still miss Juan Roman Riquelme.

The Avellaneda rivals, Independiente and Racing, both remained unbeaten but in a different way: while Racing won at Argentinos Jrs, Independiente got their 2nd scoreless draw of the season in a good game vs Velez.
Oh, and they will meet next Saturday in another edition of the Avellaneda derby !!

Newell's won their first game of the season, a very tight 1-0 at Lanus, but the main news for them this week is that after 15 years jumping from team to team in Europe (Manchester United, Real Madrid among many others), defender Gabriel Heinze returned to his hometown club where he only played 8 games back in 1997 before signing for Valladolid.

Round 2 goals (except Boca 2 - Tigre 0):




Boca 2 - Tigre 0:






As I wrote before, Round 3 will have the Avellaneda derby as its biggest game.
This is the full schedule (kick off times in GMT-3)

Friday August 17

21.10-- Colón de Santa Fe – Belgrano de Córdoba

Saturday August 18
14.00-- Racing Club – Independiente
16.10-- Boca Juniors - All Boys
20.20-- San Lorenzo - Estudiantes de La Plata


Sunday August 19
15.00-- Godoy Cruz - Atlético de Rafaela
17.15-- Vélez Sarsfield - Lanús
19.15-- Tigre - River Plate


Monday August 20
15.00-- Quilmes - Unión
17.10-- Arsenal F.C. – Argentinos Juniors
19.15-- Newell’s Old Boys – San Martín de San Juan


Standings: