Argentina Clausura Results:
|Friday JUNE 8
||Sunday JUNE 10
|Arsenal de Sarandi - Argentinos Jrs||3-1||Tigre - San Lorenzo||3-1|
|Union - San Martin (SJ)||0-0|
|Olimpo - Lanus||2-2|
||Godoy Cruz - Belgrano||2-1|
| Saturday JUNE 9
||Monday JUNE 11|
|Banfield - Boca Juniors||1-1||Racing Club - Colon||1-1|
|All Boys - Estudiantes||3-1|
|Newell's Old Boys - Independiente||2-1|
|Velez Sarsfield - Rafaela||2-1|
|The weekend's biggest relegation clash ended in a priceless victory for Tigre as they moved clear of the promocion at the expense of San Lorenzo, heightening their hopes of achieving a safety that before the season started appeared all but impossible.
The build-up to Sunday's clash was covered in controversy, mostly surrounding Ciclon midfielder Julio Buffarini and his sudden suspension after a fifth yellow card and one game ban was remembered by the absent-minded Nestor Pittana. Without the ex-Ferro star, San Lorenzo went down in the first half when Jonathan Bottinelli's defensive allowed Ezequiel Maggiolo to open the scoring.
The excellent Roman Martinez doubled the Tigre lead after the break, before Leandro Romagnoli cut the advantage back down to one. Any hopes that Ricardo Caruso Lombardi had of working his way back into proceedings were killed six minutes from time, however, when Martinez added his second of the game to seal a 3-1 victory.
The victory means that Tigre are still on course to complete the double of both avoiding the drop - and winning the title! The Matador moved within one point of leaders Boca Juniors with victory, with two games to play.
A day of reunions and memories ended in a draw that did little to help either side, as Boca saw their lead at the Clausura cut drastically thanks to missing out on all three points in Lomas de Zamora.
The pre-game greetings saw hugs and kisses all round as the Taladro welcomed 2009 Apertura champions Julio Falcioni, Walter Erviti, Dario Cvitanich and Santiago Silva back to the Banfield ground where they lifted the club's first ever title, now in Boca colours. The friendly atmosphere did not last long, however; after just four minutes the home side were reduced to 10 men when Ramon Pepe saw red.
Banfield did not fold though, and seconds after the half-time restart took the lead through ex-River player Agustin Alayes, although there was more than a hint of offside in the goal. The advantage lasted less than five minutes before Santiago Ladino put the ball past his own keeper to level proceedings, but Boca could not push on to take the victory and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
The Xeneize remain top, but wins for almost all their rivals means that they enjoy a slender one point lead over the chasing Tigre and Arsenal. With two games to play no less than six teams lie within three points of the summit, while at the other end Banfield still need a strong finish to avoid being sucked into relegation woe.
|Arsenal de Sarandi
|A first-ever title for the neighbourhood of Sarandi is now a distinct possibility, as Arsenal cruised past Argentinos Juniors to move within touching distance of the Clausura summit and set up a massive fixture against leaders Boca.
Gustavo Alfaro's men were unbeated in four going into Friday's clash, and they could not have asked for a better start. Highly-rated central defender Lisandro Lopez met a swinging cross with his head, and with some help from the post opened the scoring with just three minutes on the clock. It got even better for the home side midway through the first half, when Juan Sabia put into his own net to double the lead.
Argentinos rallied late on and grabbed their only strike of the match through JJ Morales, but Luciano Leguizamon was on hand to then pounce and put the result beyond all doubt with his side's third of the evening. Round 18 sees the Arse travel to the Bombonera for a gripping top of the table clash, the winner of which will be hot favourites to go on and win the 2012 Clausura.
|Best of the Rest|
Aside from Arsenal and Tigre, all of Boca's challengers were encouraged by the Xeneize draw as they recorded victories across the board to stay in the hunt. Newell's Old Boys lie just two points back as they battled to a 2-1 victory over Independiente thanks to Victor Aquino's late winner.
Behind the Rosario side, both Velez Sarsfield and All Boys also harbour championship ambitions with two games still to play. Velez hit through Juan Manuel Martinez and Mauro Obolo to down Rafaela 2-1, sending the Santa Fe side into the direct relegation places alongside already condemned Olimpo, who took a credible point from Lanus.
The Albo, meanwhile, were outstanding as they humbled Estudiantes 3-1 in the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas. Juan Sebastian Veron started for the Pincha, but could do little as goals from Jonathan Ferrari, Eduardo Dominguez and Mauro Matos took three points for Pepe Romero's pugnacious outfit.
|The Good, the Bad & the Ugly...|
Hero of the Week
Almost unknown outside of Argentina, indeed outside of Victoria where he plys his trade for Tigre; nevertheless, Roman Martinez has become an idol for Matador fans since arriving in 2010 for his brilliant midfield displays.
The former Espanyol player took the man of the match award with two goals in Sunday's do or die clash with San Lorenzo, a result that gives Tigre a brilliant chance of staying in the Primera.
Zero/s of the Week
One of the week's most tiresome, interminable themes was inadvertently set by this hapless whistleman. Referee Nestor Pittana showed remarkable honesty in stating that he had shown Julio Buffarini a yellow against Racing but forgotten to write it in his report, ruling San Lorenzo the winger out of the relegation six pointer. What followed though was a week of rowing, heated discussions and accusations of corruption and 'black hands' flying everywhere; while the red-faced Pittana wisely kept his head below the Parapet.
Committed Player of the Week
"Look, look, take a picture, they're going home with their asses broken" is the universal, if slightly distasteful, chant directed at any away team if they happen to lose. Imagine Leonardo Ponzio's relief, then, that River took three points at the weekend. The midfielder's shorts were covered in blood by the end of Sunday's meeting with Boca Unidos in a very compromising place, the reason later given as ruptured haemorrhoids. Ponzio refused to come off, however, and played the rest of the game with an unsightly stain as River battled to a 2-1 win that took them top of the Nacional B.