Argentine Primera Division

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VIDEO: Maradona celebrates win with wild dance moves

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Diego Maradona is a coach in Argentina’s top-flight and he led Gimnasia to their first win of the season on Saturday.

How he celebrated in the locker room was quite something, even for El Diego.

Gimnasia beat Godoy Cruz 4-2, who they leapfrogged to move off the bottom of the table.

Two goals in the final seven minutes secured the victory for Gimnasia, as Maradona’s side now have a stretch of winnable games coming up.

Watch the video below as Maradona breaks it down.

Sergio Aguero confirms his desire to return to Argentina

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Sergio Aguero is still dreaming of a return to Independiente.

[ MORE: Messi makes World Cup promise ]

Aguero, 29, became Manchester City’s all-time leading goalscorer last week and has 179 goals in all competitions for the Premier League since he arrived from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

He has won every major trophy available apart from the Champions League with Man City and many would say his job is done in England after this season.

Then what?

The Argentine international has been speaking about that ahead of La Albiceleste’s friendlies against Russia and Nigeria in Russia over the next few days.

“It came out that Milan and Real Madrid wanted me and – I don’t know where I read it – but they said, ‘They just spoiled Independiente’s dream.’ But the idea was always to go back to Independiente when my contract with City runs out in 2019. I have an option to extend one more year with City where it’s the priority but it’s always an option. The idea is to go back. Now, I’m doing very well and hopefully we can win the cup [title], but it’s not easy.”

Very interesting.

With Aguero having to scrap with Gabriel Jesus for the role of the lone central striker in Pep Guardiola‘s side at Man City, it seems that his time at Man City may be coming to a somewhat natural end.

At the end of the 2018-19 season he will be 31 years of age and the way City are playing right now it seems rather likely that Aguero will get his hands on the Champions League trophy in one of the next two seasons if he remains at City that long.

One thing about Aguero has always intrigued me. He has spent sic years in England but can hardly speak the language and it is quite obvious he doesn’t plan to remain in Manchester a day beyond his playing contract at Man City.

He is a legend of the club, not only for his title-winning goal in 2012, but for his incredible goalscoring record during the most successful period in club history.

That means City will likely allow him to leave on his terms when he wants to return to Argentina and, quite frankly, they’ll be delighted he doesn’t want to sign for any other team in Europe or the Premier League so he can’t come back and haunt them.

Aguero’s international teammate, and close friend, Lionel Messi, has also been talking about potentially returning to his former club in Argentina, Newell’s Old Boys, to end his career.

Imagine that duo going head-to-head in the Argentine Primera Division for the final years of their career?

Juan Roman Riquelme and Diego Maradona both returned to Boca Juniors for the twilight of their careers and Aguero and Messi doing the same, at the same time, would be quite something. They both deserve to decide where they will play out the final years of their glittering careers.

Offshore drilling, Argentina: at Colón 1, River Plate 1

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Man of the Match: His first professional goal was a memorable one. Twenty-one-year-old center back German Pezzella, making his first appearance of the season, scored in the 88th minute for River Plate, pulling back Colón’s second half opener to give the Millonarios are slightly fortuitous point in Santa Fe.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • It’s not the River didn’t deserve a point. It’s just that the game seemed over. Colón players where coming off to congratulatory ovations. The pace of the game had slowed.  Colón’s spells of possession were starting being met with an complacency hinting River had accepted their fate. Colón was all set to jump back to the top of the Primera.
  • Then came the most dangerous play in soccer: the second ball in from a corner kick. Colón cleared a ball from the right out to River midfielder Leonardo Ponzio. His chip to the left of goal looked premature, four of his teammates still offside, but as they ran ahead of the Colón defense, Pezzella pushed forward. After settling Ponzio’s pass, Pezzella shot past a helpless Diego Pozo for the point-winning goal.
  • After the match, Colón players rushed to referee Nestor Pitana, complaining about the lack of a whistle on the match-winning goal. With a cluster of white kits on the wrong side of Colón’s blue line, you can’t blame them for assuming there should have been a call. Amid the confusion, it was remarkable the assistant ‘s flag stayed down, your subconscious giving that familiar hint that something’s not right. Ultimately, the officiating crew got the call right.
  • For much of the match, River had looked the slightly more dangerous side. Perhaps that means the point is just, but with Colón have played the last 17 minutes like a team running out the clock, you still feel for a home side that thought they have the match sewn up.
  • When Colón midfielder Adrian Bastía came off in the 85th minute, he did the slow, clapping walk that’s usually one of the victors’ final acts. It’s embarrassing to take off one of your veterans – to solicit the crowd’s applause – only to drop points.
  • Colón had taken the lead in the 71th minute on their first good chance of the night, Ruben Ramirez heading home a Bruno Urribarri cross seconds after coming on for Facundo Caruchet. The veteran forward had come on so recently, you wonder if River forgot to account for him on the cross.
  • On the replay, it looked like two Colón attackers were in front of left-center half Jonathan Maidana, with 27-year-old choosing the wrong man to mark.
  • To that point of the match, it had been a somewhat dull affair. The constant singing from the Santa Fe crowd was the only highlight. River seemed the better side, but they were never able to generate good chances for forwards David Trezeguet or Rogelio Fuenes Mori. Every time Colón gained possession, long passes toward Maidana and Rodrigo Fuenes Mori’s side of defense quickly became turnovers.
  • With the point, River runs their unbeaten streak to four, their only loss coming to Belgrano in their return to first division soccer. With two games pending on Monday, River sits ninth in the Primera, earning eight points through five rounds.
  • Ironically, River’s goal helps Boca move to the top of the table, their 12 points one better than Colón, who are part of the three-way tie for second (Newell’s Old Boys, Arsenal).

Offshore drilling, Argentina: River Plate 2, at Estudiantes 0

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The second Saturday of Argentina’s Torneo Inicial kicked off with two transitioning giants meeting in La Plata, with Estudiantes hosting the newly promoted River Plate.

Man of the Match: Rogelio Funes Mori scored only four times last season in the second division. Today, he cashed in twice, using his speed to beat high Estudiantes lines in the 54th and 67th minutes. Both times, the 21-year-old striker waited for Paraguayan international Justo Villar to give up the right side of goal. Both times, he made the finishes look easy.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • The clubs came into this match at the opposite ends of the standings, albeit after one round. Estudiantes opened their season on Monday with a victory at Tigre, while River Plate were handed a disappointing home loss Sunday by Belgrano.
  • For Estudiantes, Monday’s result was a strong start to the their post-Juan Sebastian Veron era, the talismanic midfielder having retired at the end of the last tournament.
  • Estudiantes nearly struck first, with Gaston Fernández’s restart finding veteran Leandro De Sabato at the far post in the 12th minute, just inside the six yard box. The defender was poor with a header put back across goal, the shot toward a relatively empty net going far wide of the right post.
  • The foul came down Estudiantes’ right side, where the home side targeted their attacks throughout the first half. There, they had Maxi Nunez matched up against River left back Ramiro Funes Mori (Rogelio’s twin brother). The defender held up well, which meant Estudiantes, persistent with their tactic, did very little to threaten Marcelo Barovero’s goal in the first half.
  • Estudiantes’ other tactic: Get the ball to Fernández. La Gata had freedom to do whatever he wants in Matias Almeyda’s 4-4-2. If Veron was the focal point before, Fernández is now.
  • The attacking Funes Mori was River’s outlet as they tried to build opportunities for David Trezeguet, but with Estudiantes’ Roman Martínez and Rodrigo Braña clogging up play through the middle, River’s only real chance of the half can off a 24th set piece Trezeguet forced Justo Villar to push just wide of goal.
  • In the second half, Rogelio Funes Mori broke through. In the 54th minute, he burst through the right side of Estudiantes’ defense onto a ball from Trezeguet. De Sabato tried to help from his left-center back position, but he chose a poor angle and took himself out of the play. Poking the ball past an oncoming Villar, Funes Mori gave River the opening score.
  • In the 67th minute, Funes Mori struck again, again beating a high Estudiantes line to go in alone on Villar. This time, it took some luck, as ball blocked by River in midfield ended up behind Estudiantes’ high line. Funes Mori blew by defender Agustin Alayes and finished in the right side of Villar’s net.
  • As important as it was to get their first win of the season, for River, the performance itself was more telling. A 2-0 win at Estudiantes looks impressive on paper. That the score was deserved should give the team confidence early the Inicial.
  • For Estudiantes, it’s a disappointing result, but there’s no reason to sound the alarms. They needed more variety in attack, and their high line didn’t hold up well again Funes Mori, but River didn’t uncover any major cracks.

Want more from beyond these borders? Check out more Offshore Drilling.

Offshore drilling: at Godoy Cruz 1, Newell’s Old Boys 1

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Man of the Match: Maximiliano Urruti had a goal waved off mid-way through the second, and he’d been generally frustrated as a 10-man Godoy Cruz stayed organized at the back (thanks to Nelson Ibáñez). In the 90th minute, however, Urruti was there to take advantage of the defense’s one lapse. As defenders paused, thinking Ibánez would come swallow a loose ball at the edge of his six-yard box, Urruti put home the equalizer, salvaging a point for NOB.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • The first third of the game played out as you would expected a match between one of the league’s top sides and one that had one only one of eight. Newell’s had more energy, looked sharper, and as such was able to dictate the tempo of the match’s first stanza.
  • That changed when Newell’s got their first scare, late in the first half. Godoy Cruz was able to play Juan Garro behind the right side of the defense, the attacker eventually putting a ball back toward the spot for Álvaro Navarro. The Uruguayan put his shot off the left post, got the rebound, but rushed a put-back that was no problem for Sebástian Peratta. Newell’s reacted like a team that’d been punched in the mouth.
  • Two minutes into the second half, more disorganization on Newell’s part let to the opening goal. The back four gave a huge lane for Garro to run through, into the right side of the area. Too little pressure led to an easy through ball, the first touch a right-footed blast into the far side of the net.
  • If Godoy Cruz’s late first half attack was one turning point of the match, Nicolas Olmedo’s straight red at 52′ was the second, the midfielder’s dismissal leaving the home side more than a half-an-hour to hold their lead. From that point on, Godoy almost voluntarily played on the back foot, though they were able to constantly play balls into the wide areas as a means to knock Newell’s back.
  • And that’s part of the reason why the result will be so tough to take, even though Godoy Cruz played almost half this match a man down. Though Newell’s look better for large parts, Godoy Cruz was never out of control except for those few seconds at the end when the defense turned off, expecting something from Ibáñez the `keeper wasn’t prepared to deliver.
  • The draw was Godoy Cruz’s sixth in nine Clausura matches, leaving them 14th at the final whistle. About to be seen out of Libertadores, Godoy Cruz could be facing a long, boring fall. Newell’s, on the other hand, are three points back of first-place Boca Juniors, though their inability to generate clean chances on Ibáñez means their attacker (which has only scored 10 in 9) will continue to be a concern.