1. Clasicos - two Argentinian Derbies
Belgrano v Tallares 0-1
Interesting partly because of the particularly poor sightlines that would be apparent to anybody standing behind the goals. Curiously , because of the poor viewing & no doubt because of the World Cup connection, it brought back memories, to this observer, of the White City in 1966.
Then (for France v Uruguay) it rained - this time it was fine & warm.
Despite being nominally Tallares' home ground the stadium was full of only one colour, light blue, as Belgrano were the designated home side in this big Cordoba derby.
Since this was in the Nacional B, the 2nd level in Argentina, no away fans were allowed entry.
Even in the vast open bowl of a stadium they still generated quite some noise.
But their team missed a number of gilt edged chances (headers especially) , had a man sent off & were then frustrated by a Tallares side who scored then wasted time fairly blatantly afterwards.
And so it was I trooped back towards town with the downcast fans, finding a taxi up the road for a ride back to the centre.
So black & white became prominent as the light blues were diverted along different streets to a quiet homecoming.
But at least there were away fans , including the somewhat notorious barra brava with their red & white umbrellas.
Huracan had most cause to celebrate as they came away with a draw (1-1) , a moral victory.
Their fans prolonged the agony by taking their time to depart the visiting section , such that it was at least 40 minutes before the gates were opened to the rest of us.
Incidentally Huracan are one of couple of teams that have announced some stadium development plans (Boca being the other)
For sure their fairly old ground is in need of some cover as anyone who has experienced a game in the rain will testify.
And most of Independientes old stadium has now been demolished.
The schedule is to build the new stadium (European style) by June 2008 - which might well be a little optimistic.
2. Copa Sudamericana
For this writer hardly a goal-fest.
Three games seen in this competition & three 0-0 draws , all involving River Plate.
The first against Defensor of Uruguay (guess they don't score many goals anyway)
then two games against Argentinian opposition :
Arsenal v River, River v Arsenal
Though Damonte of Arsenal did catch the eye at times.
But it happened following another goalless draw in the Monumental watched by 50,000.
This time with more close things including Biagini of Arsenal hitting the bar in the opening minutes.Overall Arsenal defended well & their goalie (Cuenca) starred with a number of saves as well as scoring the final penalty (a la Rogerio Ceni) blasted home to seal victory. It helped that River had a man sent off.
But River did have a small ,tricky left footed midfielder called Diego (Buonanotte) - expect to see more of him in the future.
So a place in the Final awaits Arsenal, against America (of Mexico)
Whereas Rivers' coach Passarella's stay is at an end. As he said when it goes quiet at the Monumental, as it did at the finish - thats death.
3. The Apertura title race
Can Lanus win the title for the first time ever ?
I saw them overcome Tigre, 2-1, before a large, passionate (what else ?) crowd of 40,000 & maintain their lead at the top of the Apertura.