At long last, journalists and fans of the beautiful game alike were able to sit back this weekend and forget, momentarily, the AFA shitstorm that has dominated so much of the game’s news over the past months. Finally, some action on the pitch rather than off it, and a whole host of goal-filled games meant it was more than worth the wait.
The weekend’s fixtures kicked off with a bang on Thursday, when Vélez Sarsfield managed to grab a vital win against Estudiantes in what turned out to be game of the round. The team from Liniers took the lead early on through Mariano Pavone’s neat cut-back and finish, before Estudiantes — without recently-turned 42 year-old Juan Sebastián Verón in their ranks — clawed themselves back into the game.
With the game petering out at 2-2 — a result 21st-placed Vélez would have no doubt taken before the game, considering Estudiantes fourth placed position — ex-River man Pavone was on hand once more, pouncing upon a defensive mix-up and slotting the ball into an empty net to wrap things up with just minutes to go. An emphatic result for Vélez and one that will only add to Estudiantes’ misery, having now lost 4 of their last 5 matches.
— Pasión Fortinera (@PasionFortinera) March 10, 2017
Tight at the Top
With fourth-placed Estudiantes having suffered at the hands of Vélez, Boca, Newell’s and San Lorenzo had the chance to cement their places in the top three.
Going into the weekend in third, San Lorenzo hosted Belgrano and were looking to recover from the 4-0 thrashing they suffered at the hands of Flamengo in the Copa Libertadores midweek. That they managed, beating the side from from Córdoba 2-1 and putting increasing pressure on first-placed Boca.
Read more: San Lorenzo suffer four in Rio
That result meant they leapfrogged Newell’s, who went down 1-0 to an in-form Defensa y Justicia.
Boca made the trip to Banfield, keen to extend their lead at the top of the league, especially after some pretty poor performances in pre-season. Striker Dario Benedetto proved to be the difference, scoring twice to lead the xeneize to a comfortable victory that leaves them three points clear at the top. Carlitos who?
— VarskySports (@VarskySports) March 12, 2017
Racing were also keen to flex their attacking muscles over the weekend, finishing off a Lanús side that couldn’t recover from their Copa Libertadores defeat to Uruguay’s Nacional on Thursday night. Goals from Lautaro Martínez, Gustavo Bou and Acuña (my personal favourite) saw the game end 3-0.
— Racingmaníacos (@RacingManiacos) March 12, 2017
River Plate went up against Unión de Santa Fe in a clash that was attended by a near 60,000 fans, including yours truly. Having waited so long for a return to competitive football and the chance to attend a proper game, the scenes at El Monumental beforehand didn’t disappoint. The same cannot be said about the football that followed, however. A frustrating 0-0 draw was the outcome – their first goalless encounter in the league since April 2016. Typical.
One point of excitement, however, came 10 minutes into the second-half, when a 20-yard strike from River’s Nacho Fernández hit the crossbar but failed to cross the line, according to the ref. “C***** de tu hermana” [“go fuck yourself”] was the cry from angry River fans around the stadium. “Partido de mierda” [a shitty game] was the verdict from one fan at full time. Can’t say I disagree.
El gol anulado por la dupla Angelici/Tapia a Nacho Fernandez pic.twitter.com/3vIxTdm7Ou
— RiverVuelveASerRiver (@River_Vuelve) March 12, 2017