Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Torneo Clausura: “Big Two” suffer again in Argentina

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on February 1, 2010
River Plate Fans

Fans of River Plate didn't have much to shout about in Matchday 1 of the Torneo Clausura losing 1-0 at home to Banfield.

Argentina’s two biggest clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, endured a less than successful start to the 2010 Torneo Clausura (Closing Championship) which got under way this weekend.

River were defeated 1-0 at home by the 2009 Apertura (Opening) champions Banfield with Sebástian Fernández scoring the crucial goal sixteen minutes from time to give El Taladro (The Drill) a perfect start to the new campaign. River, who finished 14th in the 2009 Apertura, went into the game with confidence having beaten arch-rivals Boca Juniors in two pre-season events but were found lacking the killer punch. Boca, meanwhile, appeared to be in command at the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona as Martin Palermo gave the Xeneizes (The Genoese) the lead on the stroke of half-time but, with ten minutes to go an own goal from Ezequiel Muñoz allowed hosts Argentinos Juniors to restore parity. In what proved to be a roller coaster finish to the match a Juan Roman Riquelme goal five minutes before full-time wasn’t enough for Boca as they were pegged back again deep into stoppage-time as Victor Ismael Sosa levelled the game for a second time with both teams having to contend with sharing the points. With both Boca and River failing to qualify for the 2010 Copa Libertadores due to poor performances last season it was imperative for both clubs to start well this time around but both came up short and allowed some of the other teams to get ahead.

Copa Libertadores champions Estudiantes de La Plata have ambitions of adding more national titles to their honours board and they began the Torneo Clausura in fine style with a 3-0 home defeat of Arsenal thanks to goals from Marcelo Carrusca (40′) and Mauro Boselli (64′ and 68′). Racing Club, from the Buenos Aires suburb of Avellaneda, also won their opening game 3-0 at home to Rosario Central thanks to Pablo Lugüercio (39′), Matías Martínez (42′) and Claudio Bieler (76′) whilst their arch-rivals Independiente could only muster a 0-0 draw away at the other Rosario club, Apertura 2009 runner-up Newell’s Old Boys.

Lanús had to come from behind in order to prevail in their opening match at home to Hurácan. Patricio Toranzo and Gáston Machín gave the visitors a two goal lead inside 25 minutes but the home side came back late in the game to claim all three points thanks to goals from Gonzalo Castillejos (2 goals) and Maximiliano Velázquez, all three strikes coming in the final seventeen minutes. El Granate had been helped in their comeback when Hurácan’s Gonzalo García was sent-off with six minutes remaining. San Lorenzo are often expected to fight for titles and their campaign got off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory away at Atlético Tucumán, Fabian Bordagaray’s lone strike on twenty four minutes proving decisive.

In the other games on Matchday 1 of the campaign Copa Libertadores participants Colón Santa Fe and Velez Sársfield fought out a 1-1 draw whilst there were two games which, even at this early stage, could have an effect on the relegation standings (in Argentina teams with the worst three-year average points total are relegated). Godoy Cruz secured a much needed 1-0 win against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata whilst, in arguably the weekend’s least glamourous match, Chacarita Juniors won 2-0 away at Tigre.

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