South American Football Wrap up: Coachless In Avellaneda
By Juan Arango
Will start to work on a weekly wrap of South American football and will talk about the high and low lights of the game in this passionate footballing continent.
Here's our maiden voyage into this wonderful football mad continent.
We start this journey in Brazil:
São Paulo's had another youth player that is starting to cause waves as well as long distance explosions. In this case, we are talking about 17-year-old Ewandro who scored from almost midfield in the Tricolor Paulista's 2-0 win over struggling league champs Fluminense. Fot the Tricolor Carioca, the loss marked the end of a three-match unbeaten streak that saw that things might have been turning around for Vanderlei Luxemburgo since taking over for Abel Braga. More importantly, Fluminense are also three points clear of relegation and one point behind their eternal rivals Flamengo, who lost to Grêmio 1-0 at the Estadio Mané Garrincha in Brasilia.
Pará's eighth minute goal was the difference for the Tricolor Gaúcho and another three points helped them keep pace with new league leaders Cruzeiro. A Raposa got a vital win at Ponte Preta with goals by Dedé and Borges while Botafogo lost to the surprise team of the tournament in Atlético-PR 2-0 courtesy of a brace by Ederson.
Meanwhile Corinthians, who were looking to get rid of the bitter taste in their mouths after a 1-0 loss to third division side Luverdense, were unable to do so after a 1-1 draw with Vasco da Gama.
Meanwhile in Argentina, Racing and Independiente these days have lots more in common than you think. They both find themselves at the bottom of the table in their respective leagues. Also coming into Monday, they both found themselves without a coach. After Racing's 2-0 loss at home to Arsenal, Luis Zubeldía was out of a job on Sunday. This came as a mild surprise as he was given a contract extension just two weeks before. Meanwhile, Independiente's situation got much worse after suffering their first-ever relegation. The Red Devils of Avellaneda lost to Atlético Tucumán and that was the end of Miguel Ángel Brindisi's tenure with a club he came to help out. Independiente have not won a match in league play since May 19th. Yeah, you can call their situation dire.
Maybe not as dire but it surely is preoccupying. Both Boca Juniors and River Plate started to show their Jeckyll and Hyde play once more. River faced a team that they had only lost to at El Monumental only once before in Colón. In the end, they would go down yet again 2-1. Rubén Ramírez repeated his feat from 2007 when he scored against River in that other victory. Colón took advantage of several imprecision's in the River attack that left them vulnerable to the counterattack. There was one bit of good news for River fans as their much ballyhooed acquisition, Colombian international Teófilo Gutiérrez scored on his debut but it was too late for the home side to get any points at home. That loss also ended a 41-match unbeaten streak for Ramón Díaz at El Monumental.
Boca didn't have much to gloat about either as their inefficiency as well as lack of poise in crucial moments saw them fall to a surprising Estudiantes side who saw their captain, Juan Sebastián Verón be a last minute scratch due to a stomach ailment. Verón was about to make his debut after announcing his retirement about a year ago and he was not missed. El Pincha took advantage of Boca's mistakes as well as an inspired performance by young goalkeeper Jerónimo Rulli and Guido Carillo to come away with a 2-0 win over the Xeneize.
But the teams that keep surprising are recently promoted Gimnasia La Plata as well as Argentinos Juniors. El Bicho were fighting relegation last tournament and now find themselves atop the table in the top flight. Ricardo Caruso Lombardi's men were able to come away with a 1-0 win to Tigre. Meanwhile Argentina's oldest side look poised for their first-ever title (still early) after they were able to come away with 2-1 win in Córdoba against Belgrano.
Newell's also continue to raise eyebrows as the reigning champs came away with a huge win against Atlético Rafaela on the road. David Trézéguet was a major spark to the team with a sensational goal that led the team to a 2-0 win. Most impressive for Alfredo Berti was that him keeping in place what Gerardo Martino established before heading to Barcelona allowed for there to be stability despite the administrative issues the club is undergoing.
Nacional came away with an important win against lowly Rentistas when left back Juan Manuel Díaz scored in the 95th minute and the Uruguayan powerhouse are currently in the top spot with El Tanque Sisley and recently promoted Sudamerica.
In a rematch of last year's annual final, Peñarol were able to salvage a point in Parque Rodó as a penalty kick in injury time help El Manya come away with a draw. Tony Pacheco's penalty was gaffed terribly by goalkeeper Martín Campaña who had epic performance in the second half until that howler conceded the point for the Violetas.
Junior went top of the table in Colombia after defeating Atlético Huila 2-1 at the Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla. Luis Carlos Ruiz came off with a brace and propelled the Sharks to the top of the Torneo Finalización Table. Millonarios are also in the running for the top seed as they came up with a huge 4-0 win over Deportivo Pasto who were coming off a very win against Chilean side Colo Colo in the Copa Sudamericana. The star of the match was former Once Caldas and Xolos man Dayro Moreno whose brace broke the deadlock and Millonarios started to look to get out of their proverbial funk.
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