Published on March 21st, 2017 | by Peter Coates0
A bad weekend in Argentina for the ‘grandes’
A defeat for Boca Juniors and more pressure piling on coach Diego Aguirre at San Lorenzo in a weekend when Argentina’s lesser lights took to the limelight
If gambling is a mug’s game then God knows what having a flutter on Argentine football is, as the only predictable part is how utterly unpredictable it is. This weekend saw plenty of surprises at both the top and in the descenso table and it was notably the Buenos Aires giants that suffered most.
Boca Juniors had the opportunity go six points clear at the top of the Primera and needed a win against a Talleres side, that hadn’t played a competitive match since December. The league leaders hadn’t lost in the league since the opening weekend at the end of August and were unbeaten in La Bombonera for fourteen matches. It couldn’t have been more straight-forward, right?
Wrong! Talleres have impressed since their promotion and Frank Kudelka’s talented, young side did what many ‘smaller’ clubs fail to do away at one of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’ and had a real go. Arguably, La T had a stroke of luck visitors to La Bombonera rarely get when Ariel Penal failed to spot a handball and award Boca a penalty but few could begrudge the Cordobeses the points.
A Boca defeat will always focus far more on their shortcomings rather than how Talleres approached the game but goals from Victorio Ramis and Emanuel Reynoso were deserved.
Just one defeat in ten, the best defensive record in the top flight and in young Reynoso, a supremely gifted playmaker, Talleres will likely upset a few more clubs before the season ends.
San Lorenzo still in title race but Aguirre in deeper trouble
The two may not naturally go together but despite still trailing Boca Juniors by just three points, pressure continues to build on San Lorenzo manager Diego Aguirre after this weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Godoy Cruz.
Two defeats from two in the Copa Libertadores leave qualification to the knockout stages already looking like an uphill struggle and despite playing against ten men for 30 minutes in Mendoza, Los Cuervos were still deservedly beaten.
San Lorenzo were shaky defensively under Pablo Guede but are downright frightening at times now under Aguirre. Despite sitting in third, you need to go all the way to Quilmes in 20th to find a team that has conceded more goals. If improvements aren’t made fast, you have to wonder how long the Uruguayan will remain in charge.
Racing brought back down to earth
Title winning coach Diego Cocca’s return signaled a fresh start for Racing after a disappointing first half of the season under the leadership of the seemingly out of depth Ricardo Zielinski. A dominant victory over a heavily rotated Lanus side in Avellaneda served only to increase optimism and so Sunday’s defeat to Belgrano was a shot in the arm.
El Pirata had only won once in the league this season but in neighbouring Instituto’s ground, due to their own pitch not being playable, Belgrano celebrated the club’s 112th anniversary with a deserved win.
Diego Cocca undoubtedly has some top class talents in attack but his first task is to work with the defence and to solve Racing’s woeful away record.
Frustrating start to life for Holan at Independiente
Independiente finally got their season underway and despite a new manager, a new look starting eleven and plenty more attacking intent, El Rojo still couldn’t find the back of the net.
Ariel Holan’s side did everything but – from both posts being struck, chances being wasted and San Martin goalkeeper Luis Ardente pulling off some fine saves but it was another blank for Los Diablos Rojos.
However, there were reasons for optimism given the chances created and in patches the attractive, dynamic football that the new manager has promised. Youngsters Fabricio Bustos and Alan Franco looked ready and the new signings showed promise so there is hope.
So, who near the top had a good weekend?
Newell’s Old Boys bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to close the gap on Boca to three points thanks to former Sunderland striker Nacho Scocco’s superb hat-trick against relegation-threatened Velez Sarsfield and Estudiantes ended their run of five matches without a win to see off Patronato.
It was far from the dominant performances under Nelson Vivas that El Pincha produced at the start of the season but crucially, Estudiantes got back among the chasing pack.
Any clasico fun?
Santa Fe gave us round sixteen’s big derby and it was as fiery and ill-tempered as you would expect from the meeting of local rivals in Argentina. Colon scored the upset and claimed the bragging rights on Union’s own turf, with a first win in six attempts but aside from the two goals, Patricio Loustau dished out four red cards.
And what about the relegation picture?
There was no immediate change to the bottom four in the descenso table but Sarmiento’s come-from-behind win over rivals Temperley breathed life into survival bid and perhaps confirmed what many already think and that El Gasolero will slip out of the Primera.
Olimpo also remain in the drop zone but scored a win over Banfield in Bahia Blanca and Huracan eased their concerns with a victory against the previously resurgent Defensa y Justicia.