River goal flurry fails to sink Racing

It was another clasico, another local derby. This time it was the 'millionaires' of River playing the league's paupers Racing (who recently held a prize draw among the players to win a PlayStation 2).

Racing, who barely stayed up last season and are currently lingering in 12th position, would have normally dreaded their trip to River's posh suburbs.

But Simeone's team, winners of the championship last season, are struggling themselves, and are even further down the table in 15th.

Because of the Argentine league's complicated structure of relegation based on a three-year average, Racing must finish very well this season - even a mid-table finish could see them have to face a demotion play-off.

So they wholeheartedly took the game to River, full of confidence after beating Estudiantes on their last outing.

Three times they were ahead with goals from their young pretenders, starting in the 12th minute with an own goal from Quiroga (who later scored at the right end) on an uncharacteristically soggy day in Buenos Aires.

Simeone had rested a couple of players for the Copa Sudamericana, one of them key man Abreu. The Paraguayan Santiago Salcedo, who River had high hopes for at the beginning of the season but pushed out following Abreu's return, gave Simeone something to bite on to with a powerful header and his first goal in a red and white jersey.

But Racing never withered and continued to play well, although they lacked the killer instinct to bury River once and for all. The game ended 3-3 with Racing going home a little disappointed not to have won.

At the top of the table San Lorenzo lead, but Tigre, championship winners in 2007, are proving they can compete with the big boys.

A 3-2 win against Boca, at the Bombonera, puts them in 2nd ahead of Boca with Vélez in 4th, their best start for years.

But again it's proving to be an interesting season for the small provincial teams. San Martin de Tucuman, Lanús and Colón aare all in the top seven. No Independiente, no River, no Racing and certainly no Estudiantes who are rock bottom. 

After eight games, the season is wide open and it is the smaller clubs who are making all the headlines.