Well, that didn’t take long. Lanús choked and gave up the lead in the Clausura. Too bad. It was fun while it lasted, right Granate fans? Back to mediocrity for your lot.
The title chase is wide open now, with four clubs at the top on seven points. There were some managerial moves (one tragic) and some frustrating losses. There’s also some interesting matchups to check out this weekend. Let’s get into it straight away.
Looking Back: The Boca Juniors machine is starting to fire on all cylinders again, handing NOB a 2-0 loss with goals from Cvitanich and Riquelme. They’ve also just gotten a bit stronger midweek (more on that below). El Xeneize is now 2nd on 7 points.
Vélez looked like they were going to steamroll Arsenal, up 3-0 after an hour, but El Arse (srsly) put in a pair near the end to make it a respectable 3-2 win for El Fortín, good enough for top of the table on goal dif. Two of their goals came from Augusto “El Negro” Fernández, aka Exhibit A in Luis Suarez’ “I’m not a racist” argument.
Tigre and All Boys surprisingly rounded out the top four with wins over Godoy Cruz and Rafaela, respectively. San Lorenzo also earned a much needed win over Argentinos. They’re still in trouble in the relegation table, but they’re clawing their way up. Danger looms ahead, as we’ll see in a minute. Your pichichi so far is San Martin’s Gastón “the Cat” Caprari, with four goals.
Independiente was defeated 2-0 by Estudiantes and has now recorded three straight losses to open the season and has yet to score a goal. Allow me to get in a quick and reactionary “DIAZ OUT!!!” Seriously, this blows. Bottom of the table. There’s some talented players on this squad, and he’s done nothing to make it work so far. GAH!
Midweek Gossip and Other Nonsense: A small group of Independiente “fans” showed up at practice Monday to insult the squad (Spanish link) and demand that they return their salaries for “stealing” from the club. Gabriel “Field Marshall” Milito had to calm them down and beg for patience. Club directors are backing the manager so far, but he might quit on his own if they lose on Saturday to Argentinos.
Speaking of Argentinos, manager Néstor “Pipo” Gorosito was severely injured (Spanish link) in a tragic auto accident Saturday night and has a long recovery ahead, forcing him to resign so the club can hire a replacement. In addition to Gorosito’s resignation, Banfield’s Jorge “Moth Ball” Da Silva quit (after a win, no less) so he could sign with Uruguayan giants Peñarol, citing a lack of confidence among Banfield’s players. A manager giving up on his team after just three games? You must be watching Tango Ball.
Still hot off the wire, Argentinos went to the mediocre coaches carousel and hired Leonardo “El Negro” Astrada (Exhibit B!) to replace Pipo Gorosito. He’ll take over the reins for El Bicho on Monday. Astrada was a legendary holding mid for River Plate and Argentina, and has coached River Plate and Estudiantes among others.
Finally, I should mention that Boca appealed to AFA to clear Santiago “Tank” Silva so he can play in the league, and they got permission despite objections from Vélez. When Silva left Vélez in January, he was blocked from playing in the league and only allowed to participate in the Copa Libertadores. The goal poacher can now suit up for Boca in all competitions, strengthening their offensive firepower.
Looking Forward: the game of the week is Sunday afternoon’s clash between Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo. El Ciclón needs to continue earning points for their relegation survival, while Boca wants to stay in the title race. As mentioned, the addition of Silva to Boca’s squad for this game will make matters worse for San Lorenzo. I don’t see them coming away with any points here. Another interesting match on Sunday will be Tigre v. Lanús. One of these teams will remain in the title hunt, the other will fade. I think Tigre gets the better of Lanús this week.
There’s a pair of good Saturday matchups as well: Vélez take on All Boys (both on 7 pts) and San Martin face Estudiantes. I’m guessing Vélez beats El Albo, which should leave us with a three-way tie for first after Week 4 (Vélez, Boca, Tigre). Meanwhile, I’ll be off lamenting Independiente’s disappointing loss to Argentinos. Ugh. I take small comfort from the fact that Racing lost as well and they’re just a couple spots up the table from us.