The Rock-Dodging Weekend Review – Round Two

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With a punctuality that would make AFA proud, Argie Bargy is up and running once again.

The season is barely two weeks old but already shaping up nicely – an open title race, lots of goals and plenty of skill and scandal to keep things lively.

We’ve already had arguably the best piece of showboating you’ll see all season – Eduardo ‘Toto’ Salvio showing why he’s earned a call-up from Maradona, while also reminding Rafa Benítez why Liverpool did well not to stick with Gabriel Paletta.

Now you see it: Salvio pwns Paletta (watch it here) 

At the other end of the spectrum of the Argentine football experience - sublime skill being at one, crowd violence at the other - Chacarita fans have had two matchdays back in top flight to demonstrate why they are the most feared set of fans of all.

So far the Undertakers have a 100 percent record, with disturbances and arrests at two games out of two.

As for the early-season form guide, last season’s champions Vélez are setting the pace at the top of the table, along with the Libertadores-winning, Juan Sebastián Verón-inspired Estudiantes.

The Rosario sides - Central and Newell’s - also have two wins out of two, but neither are expected to challenge for honours come the end of the championship, barring several acts of God over the next few months.

River and Boca, meanwhile, both chalked up their first wins of the season in round two thanks to their veteran 35-year old forwards.

River’s Ariel Ortega enjoyed not one, but two moments of clarity at the weekend – he set up the equaliser for 3-3 against the recently-promoted Chacarita, and then won the game with a brilliant lob, ensuring Nestor Gorosito’s natural perm will be sat in the dugout at the Monumental for at least one more week.

Up and under: Ortega lobs the keeper (watch it here) 

At Boca, Martín Palermo could be forgiven the badge-kissing after his winner against Lanús.

Boca’s barra brava – or in English, ‘thugs’ – turned up at training last Friday to verbally abuse Palermo and call him a ‘traitor’ after the striker had been quoted (out of context) as saying he’d like to play the Club World Cup with Estudiantes – the club where he started out.

Perhaps scoring his 207th goal for the Xeneize will keep the barra brava quiet...

"Traitor, eh?": Palermo scores – (watch it here

Of course, the fact that there is any football in the first place is a minor miracle.

Just days ahead of the scheduled kick off, the Players’ Union had the barefaced audacity to complain about clubs not paying their players’ wages.

Clubs being massively in debt came as news to nobody, but strike action called by the union brought it to a head.

A titanic round of pass-the-buck ensued: the union blamed the clubs; the clubs said they were in debt and blamed the TV rights deal; TV rights holders blamed AFA and the clubs; AFA whispered something about the clubs and the global financial crisis, but shouted about the (lack of) money paid for TV rights.

The upshot of the madre of all rucks between AFA, the government and big business is a series of lawsuits that will keep the nation’s lawyers occupied for several months, if not years.

The clubs should be able to clear their debt and pay their players, and football has returned to the people under the banner of fútbol para todos – ‘football for everyone’.

The government has essentially nationalised the sport, doubled the money paid for TV rights and made sure that the whole country can watch football.

Pay-per-view is now a thing of the past – all 900 minutes of top-flight football are broadcast live every weekend, kicking off on Friday night and allowing people to get on with their lives late on Sunday evening.

It used to be said that with so many clubs based in and around the capital, Buenos Aires was the perfect city for the football fan.

If you were lucky with the fixtures you could squeeze in at least three games a weekend. Now you can see them all, and you don’t even have to leave the living room...

Round 2 results
Tigre 1-2 Rosario Central
Racing 1-1 Colón
Vélez 3-1 Arsenal
Estudiantes 3-0 Gimnasia
Argentinos 1-1 Banfield
Godoy Cruz 1-1 San Lorenzo
River 4-3 Chacarita
Atlético Tucuman 2-4 Independiente
Lanús 1-2 Boca
Newell’s 1-0 Huracán

To see all 33 of the weekend’s goals in their glory, with the Beatles backing track included for some reason unknown to Argie Bargy, click here.

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