Matchday 15 round-up: Nine-a-side matches and days in court

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River Plate

Some fans claimed the atmosphere was like a Libertadores Cup final, an observation which points to a decent memory because the last time the Millonarios played one of those was in 1996.

All the same, after a promising start but then going a goal down, Ángel ‘tiki tiki’ Cappa’s debut saw River score two goals in 90 seconds - having not scored in the previous 534 minutes of ‘action’.

Ariel Ortega hit the equaliser while Diego Buonanotte played his first game since his horrendous car crash in January. Three points, some decent football and smiles all round.

Ortega (right) battles as River beat Godoy Cruz

Rosario Central versus Newell’s Old Boys

The Rosario derby had everything you’d expect from heated parochial affairs such as these.

Elbows, late tackles, penalties, and red cards – three of those before half time.

There was one more sending off after the break, making things at a fair nine-a-side, and the game ended all square at 1-1, a result which most favoured Central’s hopes of climbing out of the dreaded relegation playoff zone.


‘We’re paying the price for winning the title,’ believes Vélez coach Ricardo Gareca after losing to Racing.

‘You can’t just send off a kid who’s played five games,’ was his defence of Ricky Alvarez, who followed up a booking for dissent with a red card for dissent.

Gareca feels his side are being victimised after the referees decision effectively won them the championship a year ago, something that would require consistency from the nation’s refs, so it’s probably not the case.

Racing, meanwhile, took advantage of the numerical advantage to score three in five minutes and move out of the position they are fighting Central not to occupy.

Marco Pérez

This week’s Boca slayer goes by the name of Marco Pérez. Or, if you are the local press, make that Ebony Arrow, or the Colombian Samuel Eto’o.

David Cameron would probably just say it straight and call him a black man.

Pérez out-bicycle-kicked fellow striker and commentators’ nightmare Denis Stracqualursi to grab his eighth of the campaign, and like Central and Racing, Gimnasia are still in the fight to stay up.

Perez has never met David Cameron in Plymouth


The Undertakers clearly haven’t heard what six pointers are, or else they surely would have approached the clash with Atlético Tucumán differently.

They lost, and the board are already making plans for life in the second division, a life they see without 10 of the current squad.

Readers will remember that this is the same board which ‘suggested’ that the coach up until five games ago, Fernando Gamboa, rethink his team selection. He refused, left, and in came Mauro Navas.

Just 450 minutes of football later, Navas was doing the same as his predecessor. The Chacarita barra pressure the players and coach because of the poor results, but perhaps they need to look upstairs for the real problems at the club.

The Twelth Man and The Drunks

Speaking of barras bravas, La Doce and Los Borrachos made their voice heard this weekend, and rather than just the inane ‘come on lads we’re going win we want to see you champions’ that they usually churn out all game, they brought out special banners to actually say something.

‘Palermo – my only hero in this mess’ wrote Boca’s ‘fans’, while their counterparts up in Núñez declared Marcelo Gallardo a killjoy, and that he started the coup.

La Doce have sided with Palermo and not Riquelme in that particular battle, while Gallardo was criticised for supposedly having a part in Leo Astrada being fired last week.

Juan Román Riquelme

Riquelme, in the meantime, has been called up to declare in court about his press conference last Friday – not the part where he denied chatting up a teammate’s girlfriend, but the part where he suggested the barra brava had threatened the players.

Curiously, Román has been invited for this chat after speaking out about the barra, but he wasn’t invited when he was the star at one of the barra’s fund-raising events in December 2008. How bizarre.

"Hey, I think I got the wrong day for the match..."

Title Race

To end up, the title is still up for grabs. Godoy Cruz lost, Argentinos drew, Independiente beat Banfield (wonder goal from Gracián included) and Estudiantes won to make it two points that separate the four contenders.

Chacarita 1-2 Atlético Tucumán
Tigre 1-2 Estudiantes
Banfield 1-3 Independiente
River 2-1 Godoy Cruz
San Lorenzo 3-0 Huracán
Gimnasia 1-0 Boca
Rosario Central 1-1 Newell’s
Racing 3-1 Vélez
Arsenal 2-2 Argentinos
Colón 1-1 Lanús

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