Hello, my name is Vincent van Raam and I will be covering everything on the Argentine Primera División. There was no break during the World Cup qualifiers in Argentina and we saw a lot of goals! Before we get into the games I would like to explain a bit about the structure of the league and what currently is going on in Argentina.
This year there are 30(!) teams in the top flight in Argentina. Everyone plays 30 games, one game against the other 29 teams and one extra game against their big rivals. So you have two big derby’s in one season. Teams placed in 1st-5th position qualify for the South American Champions League, the Copa Libertadores. There are also three slots fort the South American version of the UEFA Europa League, the Copa Sudamericana. Relegation is a bit different in Argentina. Instead of the usual bottom three going down it is based on the lowest average amount of points scored in the past 3 years. So divide the total points by the games that were played and you have your relegation candidates. This was implemented so the big teams in the league were kind of protected from relegation. If Boca Juniors finished last they still wouldn’t go down. Welcome to the Argentina everyone.
Talking about the big teams, in Argentina, you have ‘’Los Cinco Grandes’’. These are the five biggest teams in Argentina with the most league titles. River Plate (36), Boca Juniors (31), Racing Club (17), Independiente (16) and San Lorenzo (15).
I will cover some of the standout and important games on my weekly roundup, 15 games is a bit too much! Now that all of the boring stuff is out of the way, let’s get into this weeks action!
Argentine Primera División weekly roundup, Round 17
Saturday, March 25
Patronato vs Newell’s 1-1
Flying high Newell’s had a rough game versus Patronato. Patronato took the lead in the first half with a bit of a weird goal. Patronato’s striker Telechea flicked the ball in the air while sliding, stood up quickly and headed it in via the underside of the crossbar. 1-0. In the 2nd half, Newell’s equalised via an Andrade own goal. In-form striker, Scocco, got behind Patronato’s defensive line and chipped the keeper but Andrade slid it into his own goal before the ball crossed the line. A bit of a disappointing result for Newell’s as they were looking to put pressure on league leaders Boca Juniors.
San Lorenzo vs Quilmes 3-0
San Lorenzo really needed a win. After only winning 1 in 5 and a terrible start to their Copa Libertadores campaign they faced Quilmes, a team who are even in worse form. Having lost 7 out of their 8 games Quilmes were keen to end their bad streak at the Pedro Bidegain. They did well until halftime but crumbled late in the second half. Sarulyte got send off for Quilmes after two yellow cards and San Lorenzo managed to exploit the 10 men situation. Winger Cerutti opened the scoring in the 76th minute. Avila (79’) made it two and in stoppage time Nicolas Blandi scored the last goal of the game. El Ciclon got their wanted boost in confidence and will fancy their chances playing away next week versus out of form Tigre.
Banfield won 3-1 at home to Union de Santa Fe. Youngster Cecchini had an excellent performance from midfield scoring once as well. Recently signed Dario Cvitanich (Ex-Ajax, Boca Juniors, Pachuca and Nice) and Nicolas Bertolo scored the other two goals. Rosario Central edged Tigre in a 1-0 home win. Goal by Colombian forward Teo Gutierrez. And last Gimnasia La Plata also won 1-0 vs Sarmiento. Goal by Argentine forward Mazzola.
Sunday, March 26
Racing vs Godoy Cruz 2-1
Racing got their win in front of their home fans but it wasn’t easy. Almost one-way traffic, Racing created a lot of chances in this game. If it wasn’t for Godoy Cruz’s goalie Rey, the score could have been a lot higher. As we know in football there is a simple rule. If you don’t finish your chances your opponent will score. And so did Godoy Cruz. Correa’s header was saved by Orion but the veteran goalie had no chance with the rebound. Piling on the pressure Racing just couldn’t find the net. It took them 84 minutes to score as midfielder Gonzalez scored from a corner. It was not over yet… Gustavo Bou finished off some nice play by the hosts with a thunderbolt from close range. 2-1!
Atl. Rafaela vs Estudiantes 2-2
With director/player Juan Sebastian Veron still being injured, Estudiantes drew 2-2 away at Atletico Rafaela. Colombian forward Otero opened the scoring with a low placed shot. The hosts equalised in the second half via Gudino but two minutes later Toledo put Estudiantes back in front! However, the boys from La Plata didn’t get all three points as centre back Campi equalised again for Rafaela late on. Sappa was found in no man’s land and should have either caught that ball or stayed on his line. An expensive mistake as it cost the visitors two points.
San Martin vs Boca Juniors 1-2
League leaders Boca Juniors were favourites coming into this game versus San Martin. After last week’s loss at home to Talleres, they were keen to bounce back with a win. Promising winger Pavon opened the scoring after 27 minutes. He did what he does best, cuts inside from the left and produces a piledriver in the top corner. He loves a Golazo. Centurion doubled Boca’s lead and San Martin only managed to score a consolation goal late on. Boca are still on top of the league with 37 points.
Out of form, Lanus continued their bad streak with a 1-0 loss away at Colon. River won 2-1 at home in ‘’Estadio Monumental’’ to Belgrano. Driussi and Martinez with the goals for River, Lema scored for Belgrano. In stoppage time young striker Andrade missed an absolute sitter for River. 4 people were ready to put the ball in the empty net but Andrade managed to miss it from 2 yards out. It is worth to look it up if you want a laugh! Temperley drew 2-2 at home to Tucuman who have now drawn 3 out of their last 5 games.
Monday, March 26
In what looked to be quite a dull game we actually saw a few goals. 3 to be precise as Aldosivi won 2-1 at home to Arsenal. It was still level (1-1) late on but Sosa scored an 88th-minute winner for Aldosivi. Arsenal only has 8 points this season from 17 games. Trouble.
Tuesday, March 27
There were still 2 games to be played, Velez vs Huracan and Talleres vs Olimpo. Velez were 1-0 up until the 86th minute as Julio Angulo got fouled by Velez’s goalie. Bogado converted the penalty and the game ended 1-1. Talleres had a narrow win over Olimpo. Menendez scored the only goal of the game.1-0!
That wraps up this weeks roundup! If some of you counted the games (I know you all did) you would have noticed that I’ve only covered 14 games. Defensa y Justicia vs Independiente got postponed, that’s why.
I want to thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed my first ever coverage on the Argentine Primera División. If you have any questions on Argentine football feel free to tweet me @VicenteGuzman_