One-time friends and now irreconcilable enemies, Banfield and Lanus are two of the biggest clubs to be found in the sprawling southern periphery of Greater Buenos Aires, known in Spanish as the Zona Sur, hence the derby’s nickname.
Their-now intense rivalry began to take shape in the mid-1980s, when the two sides regularly crossed swords in the Argentinian second division. The antipathy between them has grown since then, and the Clásico del Sur is now the second-biggest derby in the south of the capital, behind the Avellaneda clásico between Racing Club and Independiente.
Ahead of their 92nd meeting on Sunday, FIFA.com tells the story of how Banfield and Lanus became sworn enemies.
Founded on 21 January 1896 by a group of professional men and merchants of British descent, and based in the city of Banfield, some 14 kilometres to the south of the Argentinian capital, Club Atletico Banfield is one of the country’s most venerable footballing institutions.
Situated in the neighbouring city of Lanus, which borders the district where Banfield is found, Club Atletico Lanus came into being 19 years later, on 3 January 1915 to be exact. The result of the merger of local sides El Progreso and Lanus United, the new club quickly became known as El Granate because of their garnet-coloured shirts.
In the early days at least, Banfield and Lanus were the best of neighbours, fighting out respective rivalries instead with Los Andes and Talleres de Remedios de Escalada, both well-established clubs in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Yet though their first meeting ended in an amicable 1-1 draw, as time went by the cordial relations between the two would gradually disintegrate, their growing dislike for each other proving mutual.
Facts and figures
In terms of the head-to-head record Banfield hold sway, having won 38 and lost 27 of their 91 meetings to date, 31 of those victories and 19 of those defeats coming in the first division. That said El Granate have greater top-flight pedigree than their rivals, having spent 58 seasons there in all, 14 more than Banfield, who are alternatively known as El Taladro (The Drill).
Lanus were also the first to win a championship in the professional era, the 2007 Apertura, and the only one of the two to lift an international trophy, the 1996 Copa CONMEBOL. Their arch rivals set the record partially straight by claiming the 2009 Apertura, their one and only league title to date.
And as Grana fans never tire of reminding their bitterest enemies, they hold the higher position in the all-time Argentinian league table, lying three places above Banfield in 14th. The Taladro faithful invariably counter by pointing out that they have never suffered the ignominy of relegation to the country’s third flight, where Lanus once spent three long seasons.
Tales of derbies past
The first clásico del Sur of the professional era took place in September 1940 and was fought out on neutral ground at the stadium where Talleres de Remedios de Escalada played. Banfield made it a memorable occasion by running out emphatic 5-0 winners, a scoreline that would not be repeated for another 68 years.
El Granate would have to wait until May 1954 before gaining full revenge for that humiliation. Boasting the spine of the team that would later become known as the Globetrotters, in tribute to famed American basketball team The Harlem Globetrotters, Lanus thumped Banfield 4-0 early on in a season that would end with El Taladro’s second relegation from the top flight.
Between 1966 and 1977 Banfield went 16 derby meetings unbeaten, and in 1979 Lanus dropped down to the Primera C, the national third tier, where they would be marooned for the next three seasons. That spell in the wilderness is still a source of amusement for Banfield fans, who have referred to the local derby as 'El ‘C’lásico' ever since.
Lanus have nevertheless grown in stature since last regaining promotion to the first division in 1992, muscling their way into the Argentinian elite. That ascension was reflected in 1996, when, just months before winning the Copa CONMEBOL, they inflicted another 4-0 reverse on Banfield, the goals coming from club idols Hugo Morales (2), Ariel Ibagaza and Claudio Enria. Later recalling that game, Morales said: “We played the perfect match, perhaps the best of that era.”
Another of Lanus’ most fondly remembered clásico wins, and ultimately one of the most important, took place on Matchday 5 of the 2007 Apertura. After going a goal down away to Banfield, El Grana stormed back to win thanks to a brace from ex-Taladro forward Jose Sand. Those three points would prove crucial to them winning the championship for the first time, with only six points separating them and their third-placed neighbours at the season’s end.
The very next staging of the derby, in March 2008, ended in an ignominious home 5-0 defeat for the newly crowned champions, Dario Cvitanich hitting a brace for Banfield and Luciano Civelli, Fabian Santana and Maximiliano Laso getting the other goals to equal the biggest win in the fixture.
“It was amazing to see the home fans leaving when we scored the third with 40 minutes still to go,” said Civelli a year later. “We’ll go down in the history of the club and the fans will never forget us.”
There was further joy for Banfield a year after that memorable win. Not content with beating Lanus 2-1 en route to winning the 2009 Apertura, they would then win the next meeting 2-0.
The rivalry today
Banfield are unbeaten in their last four matches against Lanus, a run stretching back to a 1-0 defeat in the 2009 Clausura, but have made a dreadful start to the season, collecting a mere three points in their first nine games. Despite making a partial recovery, they still lie bottom of the table. El Granate are ten points ahead of them in fifth, but a whole 11 adrift of Boca Juniors at the top, a surprisingly large gap for a side widely tipped to challenge for honours.