Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tigre to the final of Copa Sudamericana !!! + Round 18 Schedule

Historic moment for Tigre as they qualify to the final of a continental tournament !! (OK, not the most important one but still it's huge for them).

Millonarios was terrible in the 1st half, Tigre was obviously just defending and trying to score on set pieces which is always their biggest strength and that's how they got the 0-1, on a header by defender Mariano Echeverria after 20 minutes of the 2nd half.
Millonarios pushed because they needed two goals but the equalizer came too late, already in stoppage time and there was not much time left so Tigre advanced thanks to the away goal rule.

Was it deserved ? Well, they did what they were expected to do (probably the only thing they can do with this squad) and it worked. Offensively Millonarios was clearly better in the 180 minutes but to win you need to score goals and they didn't do it.

First leg of the final will be at home next Wednesday vs Sao Paulo from Brazil (Lucas + Ganso + Luis Fabiano), but Tigre's stadium doesn't have the capacity required by CONMEBOL to host a final so they would need to move somewhere else (it would be decided later today).
Second leg will be one week later at Brazil.

Tigre will play at Cordoba vs Belgrano on Sunday and there's a big chance that they will ask for their last round game vs Quilmes to be postponed.
This also means that the pending game they have at Independiente won't be played until next year, early February is my guess. Copa Libertadores + 2 pending games (if they postpone the Quilmes one), some busy weeks are coming for them in February.


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Round 18, penultimate of Inicial, starts on Saturday and it could be a deciding one where Velez can win the championship and some teams could confirm their place in Copa Libertadores 2013.

Also we'll have a huge derby in San Lorenzo - Independiente, two teams in a terrible situation in the Averages table that need points ASAP.

This is the updated round 18 schedule (as usual all KO times in GMT-3):

Saturday December 1
17.00-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Quilmes A.C.
19.15-- Colón de Santa Fe-Argentinos Juniors
21.30--Racing Club-All Boys

Sunday December 2
17.00-- Vélez Sarsfield-Unión de Santa Fe
17.00-- River Plate-Lanús
17.00-- Belgrano de Córdoba-Tigre
19.15--San Lorenzo de Almagro-Independiente
20.15-- Arsenal F.C. - Boca Juniors

Monday December 3
18.00-- Newell's Old Boys-Atlético de Rafaela
20.10-- Estudiantes de La Plata-San Martín de San Juan

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 17 - Velez for the 9th

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Huge step forward towards the championship for Velez (it would be their 9th ever) with a very late win they probably didn't deserve. All Boys had the best chances to score including 2 balls that hit the bar and a huge save by goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa, but unlike last week when they should have won but lost 0-1 vs Boca, now they could have lost and won with two goals in the final minutes.

Lanus should have won their game vs Estudiantes, they missed some big chances to get the 3 points and the winning streak is finished at 7 games and now they are 2 points behind Velez with only 2 games left.

I've seen much stranger things happen without a doubt, but Velez has probably 75% of the championship because their schedule looks much easier than Lanus': the hopeless Union at home next week, and they will visit Atletico Rafaela in the last round while Lanus has to visit River and later host San Lorenzo.

I thought Boca could win the derby but I never imagined they would have such a solid performance and easy win against a Racing that was never on the field, except for the final minutes when Boca relaxed and let them manage the ball.
Is it a coincidence that Boca best results came when coach Falcioni decided to leave out of the team some experienced players that don't like him (Ledesma, Viatri, Clemente Rodriguez, Somoza) and use young ones like playmaker Leandro Paredes, midfielders Erbes and Guillermo Fernandez or Nicolas Colazo who were waiting for a chance ?
We'll probably never know because his contract won't be renewed.

Tigre won a game !!!! And they did it with authority against this terrible Godoy Cruz, with 2 goals in the 1st half (you must see the 2nd one, great and skilled player by young striker Ruben Botta) and they were able to just relax and think about the Copa Sudamericana in the last 45 minutes.
Godoy Cruz is getting in trouble in the relegations table, they might not have them this season but will in the next one because they are also coming from another poor season and this will affect their Average a lot.
Martin Palermo, their next coach, was at the stadium watching the game and he will start working with the team this week.

The round also had another win for San Lorenzo as they are getting more oxygen in the Averages table, Independiente and River tied in a very intense derby that could have gone either way, Newell's losing their final hopes to win the title after staying undefeated for 15 rounds and the same for Belgrano who was only able to get a point from their visit to San Martin.

Round 17 results :

San Martín de San Juan 1 - Belgrano 1
Unión 2 - Newell´s Old Boys 2
Independiente 2 - River Plate 2
Argentinos Juniors 1 - San Lorenzo 2
Tigre 2 - Godoy Cruz 0
Quilmes 1 - Arsenal 2
All Boys 0 - Vélez 2
Boca Juniors 3 - Racing Club 1
Atlético de Rafaela 2 - Colón 0
Lanús 0 - Estudiantes 0

Before round 18 starts next Saturday, Independiente and Belgrano will complete this Wednesday at 6pm the remaining 45 minutes of the game that the visitors were winning 0-1 before it was suspended.
For Independiente is simply like another final as they will try to recover and get something before visiting San Lorenzo next weekend.

The schedule for round 18 will change for sure between Tuesday and Wednesday because Velez and Lanus have asked to play at the same time. 
AFA regulations say that it's only obligatory in the last round that teams fighting for the championship play at the same time, but they already did it last weekend so they will try to do it again.
Also Independiente asked to play vs San Lorenzo on Sunday so they will be more rested from the Wednesday half game, but I'm not sure this will happen because it would mean that we'll have 3 important games in Buenos Aires on the same day and the security committee doesn't like this.

Huge games next weekend of course on the two that could decide the championship, Velez against the easiest rival they could have in Union and Lanus visiting anyone but River, but also the derby between San Lorenzo and Independiente will be a huuuuge game for the relegations table.

Round 18 schedule (KO times in GMT-3):

Saturday December 1
17.00-- San Lorenzo de Almagro-Independiente
19.15-- Arsenal F.C. - Boca Juniors
19.15-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Quilmes A.C.
21.30-- Colón de Santa Fe-Argentinos Juniors

Sunday December 2
17.00-- Vélez Sarsfield-Unión de Santa Fe
17.00-- Racing Club-All Boys
17.00-- Newell´s Old Boys-Atlético de Rafaela
19.15-- Belgrano de Córdoba-Tigre
20.15-- River Plate-Lanús

Monday December 3
20.10-- Estudiantes de La Plata-San Martín de San Juan

Standings :

Averages table:


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inicial 2012 - Round 16 - 3 to go and nothing is decided

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Weirdest possible round with Newell's finally finishing their undefeated run with an unexpected 1-2 at home vs the always irregular All Boys and Velez losing also at home 0-1 vs Boca in a game they should have won.

Of course some teams used those slips: Lanus won a huge game at Cordoba vs Belgrano with goals 30 seconds into the game and 30 seconds before the end for their 7th consecutive win that puts them leveled at the top with Velez, and Racing destroyed a depleted by injuries Quilmes with a 4-0 and is now 3 points behind the leaders.

San Lorenzo closed a perfect week with another solid performance and a very important win 1-0 vs Atletico Rafaela that made them finish the round outside of the relegation zone.
7 points out of 9 in the week for them, the approved law that the club will get it's "holy land" back (the "return to Boedo", the neighborhood were the club had their glorious era a few decades ago was approved this week by the Buenos Aires legislature)...finally a good week to be a San Lorenzo fan.

About Independiente... if this was a great week for San Lorenzo, it was exactly the opposite for them. Not only the defeat vs Estudiantes has to worry them, but specially the unbelievable poor attitude they showed during almost the whole game.
They are now 6 points behind San Lorenzo in the averages table but 1 and a half game less (the half vs Belgrano would be completed on Wednesday 28/11 and the pending game vs Tigre doesn't have a date yet) but they are in a desperate situation with a team that has looked clueless lately.

So 3 rounds left, nothing is decided in the league and neither are the Copa Libertadores 2013 places (sorry, only subscribers get the whole story on this).


Round 17 will be played next weekend and will feature two big derbies: Boca - Racing where both need to win, and the desperate Independiente hosting River, while Velez visits All Boys and Lanus hosts Estudiantes.
Newell's and Belgrano must win and they will be visiting Union and San Martin respectively, two teams desperate for points to improve their average.
Also remember that we have the Argentina - Brazil derby on Wednesday, and on Thursday Tigre plays the first semifinal of Copa Sudamericana against Colombian team Millonarios.

Round 17 schedule (all KO times in GMT-3):

Saturday November 24
17.00--San Martín de San Juan-Belgrano de Córdoba
17.00--Unión de Santa Fe-Newell´s Old Boys
19.15--Independiente-River Plate
21.30--Argentinos Juniors-San Lorenzo de Almagro

Sunday November 25
17.00--Tigre-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
17.00--Quilmes A.C. - Arsenal F.C.
17.00--All Boys-Vélez Sarsfield
19.15--Boca Juniors-Racing Club

Monday November 26
19.15--Atlético de Rafaela-Colón de Santa Fe
21.30--Lanús-Estudiantes de La Plata


Averages table: