Argentinos Juniors ended a 25-year wait for championship glory at the weekend by wrapping up the Clausura 2010 under the stewardship of Claudio Borghi, just one of the club’s many illustrious graduates. Estudiantes continued their fine form of recent seasons by finishing runners-up, while Godoy Cruz surprised almost everyone by taking third spot. FIFA.com takes a look back at another enthralling campaign in Argentina.
Under the guidance of Borghi, an iconic midfielder in the club’s last championship-winning side in 1985, Argentinos Juniors claimed only the third league title in their history. Playing an eye-catching brand of football, El Bicho won eight of their last nine fixtures for a 19-game total of 41 points. Their 12 wins, five draws and two defeats also included 35 goals, making them the highest-scoring side in this year’s Clausura.
One point back were Estudiantes, who only surrendered top spot on the penultimate matchday after a home draw with Rosario Central. Thus, despite taking 19 of the last 21 points on offer, and having the league’s joint-best defence (only 14 goals conceded), El Pincha had to settle for second for the fourth time in their history.
The other side to leak a mere 14 goals were Godoy Cruz of Mendoza, who defied all the pre-season predictions by finishing in third. With novice coach Omar Asad at the helm, El Tomba started the campaign with the aim of staving off relegation, only to end up fighting for the title without any recognisable big names. If that were not impressive enough, they were also the only team to remain unbeaten at home all season.
Campaigns to forget
After hugely disappointing campaigns Boca Juniors and River Plate will be hoping for better things next time round. In fact, this will be nothing short of mandatory for Los Millonarios, who will start the Apertura among the sides flirting with the relegation play-offs, which is based on the average standings of three-seasons. This was a fate that looked set to befall Racing Club this time around until their top-flight status was secured in the penultimate round. Colon and San Lorenzo were another two sides that under-performed this year, while Independiente could finish no higher than fourth after promising so much early on.
Former Independiente striker Ismael Sosa scored a slew of crucial goals for the champions, for whom he finished top scorer with nine. Also impressive this term for El Bicho were central midfielders Juan Mercier and Nestor Ortigoza, defender Matias Caruzzo and forward Jose Luis Calderon, who at 39 could not have wished for a more fitting farewell.
For their parts, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mauro Boselli and Rodrigo Bana were again instrumental for Estudiantes, while Godoy Cruz owed much of their success to attacker Federico Higuain, the brother of Real Madrid’s Gonzalo, and midfield revelation Rodrigo Salinas. Also with memorable seasons were goalkeeper Adrian Gabbarini (Independiente), midfielder Sebastian Grazzini (Racing Club) and Colombian forward Marco Perez (Gimnasia). Last but not least, the enduring quality of veteran striker Martin Palermo (Boca) deserves mention as does the return to form of Ruben Ramirez (Banfield).
While the hat-trick netted by Mauro Boselli on the final day proved insufficient to give Estudiantes the title, it did allow the 24-year-old to finish as the Clausura 2010's leading marksman with 13 goals. Boselli, who is being widely tipped to further his career in Europe, thus cemented the reputation earned last year in finishing as leading scorer in the Copa Libertadores.
Did you know?
The Clausura 2010 was Boca Juniors’ worst season since the introduction of the bi-championship format in 1991. Los Xeneizes finished a lowly 16th with just 20 points after labouring to five wins, five draws and nine defeats. Moreover, the Buenos Aires heavyweights also had the worst defence, conceding 35 times in 19 games.
What they said…
“I’m thrilled. We came into the campaign hoping to fight off relegation and ended up champions, which is all down to the effort put in by the team. They believed in something and refused to surrender it. And yes it’s true that I said I’d move on if we won the league, but I also said I intended to lose weight, and look at me!” Argentinos coach Claudio Borghi after securing the title.
At a glance
Argentinos Juniors 41 points
Godoy Cruz 37
Copa Sudamericana 2010 qualifiers
Newell’s Old Boys