Monkey man and the crap clasico

Featuring: A not very clásico clásico; Monkey man goal referred to FIFA; God watch: Look who Maradona has upset now; Team focus: Independiente; Sporty girls in very short skirts

A not very classic clásicoRacing versus Independiente is Argentina's second most important derby. Their home stadiums are literally a stone's (or bottle's or coin's) throw away, something tested on a regular basis. And as the security controls and lack of away tickets at Boca versus River increases, along with the sheer number of Boca and River fans (most non-football fanatics offer allegiance to one of these teams) the Racing-Independiente clásico certainly has the most intense, and yes, violent, atmosphere.

But last night, the Clásico de Avellaneda, named after the poor neighbourhood in which the teams are situated, held none of its usual emotion or tenseness. Partly because it was a friendly, but mostly because it was being played 800 miles away from Avellaneda, in Mendoza, more known for its wine than footballing heritage.

Those who did make the journey were left bitterly disappointed. Nil-nil draws are rarely fun, and with football of this standard there was little reason to celebrate. The most impressive part of the game was the Racing barra brava's terrace-sized flag, under which they spent most of their time.

In fact so dull was the game, the daily sports paper Olé didn't even mention it – and remember, this is a derby that attracts almost as much attention as Boca-River. Instead, they ran a picture of Boca striker Martin Palermo having his photo taken with excited River fans, something that would usually get more frowns than sleeping with your sister after shooting your grandmother.

The story of Racing in the last two weeks is an upcoming post in itself, meanwhile have a look at the 'Team of the Day: Independiente' below for a run down on one of the top five clubs in the country.

Monkey man goal referred to FIFA

Yesterday we showed the goal scored by Martin Palermo, briefly re-nicknamed El Mono (the Monkey) against River by heading the ball in while hanging off the crossbar. Today we learn that it has been referred to FIFA just in case there is some arcane rule that swinging off the crossbar while scoring a goal is punishable by playing rush goalie for three weeks, or something. Apprently the decree says that it is against the rules if the player uses an element to elevate or support to gain an advantage. You be the judge…

God Watch

Big mouth strikes again. Maradona this time has incurred the wrath of Buenos Aires's large Jewish community (the most populous in Latin America) by sending a signed Argentina shirt to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president.

"The hands that received Maradona's shirt are stained with blood," Sergio Burstein, a spokesperson for the families who lost loved ones in the unsolved bombing of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and a community centre in 1994, told the daily paper Clarín.

Maradona stated his intention to visit the country after a recent Showball match in Buenos Aires, where he met the Iranian consulate after the game. The anti-imperialist former genius (current God) reportedly said, "I have met Fidel and Chavez and now I need to know your president. I'm with the Iranians with all my heart." He didn't, however, express any wish to meet Gordon Brown.

Team focus 1: Independiente Full name Club Atlético IndependienteWebsite www.caindependiente.comFounded January 1 1906Nicknames The Red Devils, King of CupsGround Currently playing in the stadium of hated rivals Racing while a new stadium is being built on the same spot.Manager Pedro TroglioBarra brava Los Diablos Rojos (The Red Devils). They are ferocious, violent and their leader is currently being investigated for involvement in a murder of a River Plate barra member.  Titles Independiente has won the domestic title 14 times (third after Boca and River) and the Copa Libertadores (the holy grail of Latin American football) seven times, including an unprecedented four in a row. They are called King of Copas for the number of international titles they have won.Star player German Denis was one of the top goalscorers of last season. He played two World Cup 2010 qualifying games for the national squad.  Useless but quite interesting Independiente changed into their trademark red and white strip after playing, and losing, to a touring Nottingham Forest in 1907. According to the Independiente website, Forest are almost as proud of this as their invention of the goal net. Useless and not very interesting They were formed by workers in a department store called 'The City of London' in 1904.  Rivals No doubt here. Racing, whose stadium is a couple of hundred metres away, are despised. The game is known as the Clásico de Avellaneda after the poor neighbourhood they are from. Recent form Not good. The last season was disastrous for one of the best supported teams in Argentina. They finished ninth despite remaining on top for the first half of the season. Nevertheless hopes are high among fans who registered the most game receipts for any club last season.  If they were an English team Tottenham. Always have a good range of passionate and attacking players, but perennial underdogs.

Girls in short skirtsBeing in Argentina we can't, of course, forget their women's hockey team, Las Leonas (The Lionesses) who beat Germany yesterday to win gold in a four nations cup in Mendoza. Oh yeah and they are all gorgeous and wear short skirts.

 

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