Estudiantes excel, northerners thrive in Mexico
It was all change at the top in Argentina as a major upset unfolded in the USA, while Monterrey and Tijuana continued to impress in Mexico. Reviewing the weekend’s events across the Americas, FIFA.com has the details on those stories and the latest round of derbies in Brazil.
Argentina: Estudiantes in the driving seat
Matchday 7 in the Argentinian Clausura saw Estudiantes move into the lead following a 2-1 win at Argentinos Juniors, secured by a Mauro Boselli penalty and a rare Raul Iberbia goal. “I’ve only scored twice in my whole career. It was a stroke of luck,” said the defender, who struck from an equally infrequent Matias Sanchez assist. “It’s pretty hard to explain, as neither of us gets that far forward very often.”
Leaders going into the weekend, Tigre fell 1-0 at Arsenal, the only goal of the game coming from Guillermo Burdisso, the brother of Roma and Argentina centre-half Nicolas.
Boca Juniors would have moved top themselves had they not continued their poor run at home by giving away a two-goal lead to Lanus. Beaten by Fluminense and Independiente in their last two outings at the Bombonera, Los Xeneizes looked to be back on form when Pablo Mouche and Juan Roman Riquelme put them in the box seat just before half-time. Mariano Pavone pulled one back immediately for the visitors, who completed the scoring just after the interval through Paolo Goltz, leaving Boca with plenty to ponder ahead of next weekend’s meeting with new leaders El Pincha.
San Lorenzo’s relegation worries increased when they went down 2-1 to Atletico Rafaela, the only bright spot of the weekend for them being Tigre’s defeat to Arsenal. As it stands, Tigre would be relegated to the second flight on the basis of their performances in preceding seasons, while El Ciclón would face a relegation/promotion play-off with a second-division side.
Mexico: The pride of the north
There were goals aplenty on an eventful weekend in Mexico, where northern twosome Monterrey and Tijuana kept up their fine form with comfortable wins. Los Rayados crushed relegation-threatened Estudiantes 4-0, while Tijuana eased to a 2-0 defeat of Atlas, who are seven points clear of Estudiantes but by no means safe from the drop. Tigres and Santos Laguna completed a great couple of days for the north by posting respective 2-0 wins over Pumas UNAM and Queretaro, with Santos staying out front, tied on 26 points with Monarcas Morelia, who saw off America 3-1 at home.
Brazil: Timão triumph, Recife stalemate
With the state championships in full swing, barely a matchday goes by in Brazil without a big derby taking place.
Two local rivals facing off in the Paulistão this weekend were Corinthians and Palmeiras, with O Timão needing just three minutes to turn the game around after Marcos Assuncao had given O Verdão a first-half lead. Quickfire goals after the break from Paulinho and Marcio Araujo secured the points that took them level with Sao Paulo at the top of the table.
The latest staging of Recife’s Clássico dos Clássicos proved an unusually drab, goalless affair as Sport and Nautico cancelled each other out, while Goias opened out a four-point lead in the Campeonato Goiano courtesy of a 2-0 defeat of Atletico Goianiense. Finally, Ceara scored in stoppage time to see off Fortaleza and cut their lead in the Campeonato Cearense to a mere two points.
Major League Soccer: Chivas USA bounce back
The stand-out scoreline Stateside was Chivas USA’s unexpected 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake. Beaten in their opening two games by Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps, the Los Angeles outfit opened their account for the season thanks to a 72nd-minute strike from substitute Casey Townsend, who had come on for Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel. “This is arguably the toughest place to play in the league and the guys really came in and put out an extremely gritty and gutty performance,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com afterwards.
Recently signed from Chile’s Universidad Catolica, Olman Vargas and Milovan Mirosevic were Columbus Crew’s matchwinners as they overcame MLS new boys Montreal Impact 2-0. Mirosevic it was who opened the scoring from the spot, with Vargas sealing the points with a header.
The absence of Freddy Adu, on international duty with the USA U-23 team, was sorely felt by Philadelphia Union as they fell to a third straight defeat, going down 1-0 at Chicago Fire. Meanwhile, New York Red Bulls atoned for last week’s reverse at Real Salt Lake by thumping Colorado Rapids 4-1, with Kenny Cooper and France’s Thierry Henry helping themselves to a brace apiece.
The leaders in Chile had a testing but ultimately productive weekend, with Universidade de Chile leaving it late to beat Union San Felipe 1-0. That result kept La U three points clear of O’Higgins, who edged out Union Calera 2-1. Further down the table, Colo Colo suffered their second consecutive defeat in going down 1-0 to Palestino and dropped to eighth in the table.
Cerro Porteno and Olimpia continued their private leadership contest in Paraguay with a brace of away wins, Olimpia staying top after winning 1-0 at Guarani, and Cerro keeping pace, just two points behind, with a 4-2 win at Tacuary.
In the day’s big game in Colombia joint leaders Atletico Huila and Deportes Tolima played out a 1-1 draw to stay tied on 18 points, a result that allowed the chasing trio of Itagui Ditaires, La Equidad and Patriotas to close the gap to three points after winning their respective games.