Cosas locas: Flamengo pitch invader

10 October 2010: Brazilian sides Avai and Flamengo were in the last minute of a game with the score tied at 2-2, when a Flamengo fan ran onto the field to remonstrate with the referee, however he was soon decked by a combination of his own team's players and the linesman.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas locas: Gastón Sessa vs Rodrigo Palacio.

2 May 2007: Vélez Sársfield were 1-0 down against Boca Juniors in a Copa Libertadores tie when their goalkeeper got himself sent off for kicking Rodrigo Palacio in the face. After the red card was shown Sessa seemed to be trying to defend himself by making a kicking gesture but nobody else was watching by then, they were too busy having a scuffle with the referee.

Martín Palermo did a familiar job with the penalty, but Boca went on to win the game 3-0 despite the miss and the tie 4-3 on aggregate, they progressed to the final where they beat Brazilian side Grêmio 5-0 on aggregate to win their 6th Copa Libertadores.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas locas: Peñarol vs Nacional, 1990

In 1990 the biggest game in Uruguay, the derby between Peñarol and Nacional was disrupted by a mass brawl. The scenes would be repeated 10 years later in Clausura 2000.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas locas: Peñarol vs Nacional, Clausura 2000

The Peñarol vs Nacional derby is the most important game in Uruguay and one of the fiercest rivalries in World football. On 26 November 2000 the two sides met in the Clausura championship, Nacional needed to win the game to damage Peñarol,s chances of becoming champions, Nacional took the lead but after Peñarol equalised the game degenerated into a brawl.

The game eventually finished 1-1, and Peñarol won the championship.

The two teams have a history of fighting, the 1990 derby game also degenerated into a brawl.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Errado: Jonas, Grêmio vs Grêmio Prudente

Brazilian side Grêmio's striker Jonas will be glad that his team were already 4-0 up against Grêmio Prudente when he missed this chance.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

Cosas Locas: Guilherme fall

There is not much to be said about this video of AA Ponte Prete's Guilherme except what a stupid place to put a flight of stairs.

See also
  • It is not actually South American football but this incident reminded me of this.

For more crazy South American football check out the rest of the Cosas locas series.

What ever happened to? Federico Arias

In January 2003 Southampton F.C. signed a 23 year old Argentine striker on loan from Vélez Sársfield with the option to buy. Federico Arias had plenty of experience having played over 80 competitive games between his hometown club Rosario Central and Vélez Sársfield  mainly in the Argentine Primera Division but also 12 appearances in the Copa Libertadores for Central.

The Southampton team were full of praise for Arias, manager Gordon Strachan said "he looks a useful player and is very quick and hopefully he will make us stronger" while chief scout terry Cooper said "He has two excellent feet. I watched him three times and could not tell which was his best. He is a great crosser of the ball, too. His nickname is the Torpedo and it is easy to see why - he is explosive over 20 metres. The Argentinians I have seen usually have good technique on the ball but not many have this kind of pace."

It may have been wise for Southampton fans to be wary of such enthusiasm about new South American signings given the situation with the Ecuadorian pair Agustín Delgado and Cleber Chalá. Cynics amongst the Saints faithful were proven right fairly soon. Within six months of joining Southanpton and without ever taking to the field in a competitive game for them, Arias was back in Argentina. He continued to play for Vélez Sársfield until 2005, but was used sparsely only making 19 appearances for the club over the space of the entire two and a half years he was with them. He was part of the Vélez Sársfield squad that won the Argentine Primera Division in Clausura 2005, but played in few of the games.

It was clear from his lack of game time that Arias was no longer part of Vélez Sársfield's long term plans and later in 2005 he joined Quilmes. After a poor season in which Quilmes finished in 17th place and Arias only made six appearances he joined Argentine 2nd division side Belgrano de Córdoba in 2006, who then finished 2nd in the Clausura tournament earning them the chance to play in a promotion/relegation playoff against Olimpo de Bahía Blanca. Arias featured in the playoff games which were both won 2-1 by Belgrano earning them promotion to the Primera División.

Unfortunately for Arias, he never got the chance to return to the Primera División, as he was offloaded to Peruvian side side Sporting Cristal as part of Belgrano's extensive rebuilding process aimed at securing survival in the top flight.

Sporting Cristal had a poor Clausura, falling back from their 2nd place finish the previous season to end up in mid table. Arias only contributed 2 league goals in the campaign, not nearly enough to justify his wages so he was offloaded to another Peruvian side; Coronel Bolognesi at the beginning of 2007. Arias had a worse time at his new club, they finished bottom of the table in Apertura 2007 and Arias did not score a single goal for them.

During the European summer transfer window Arias put his Italian passport to good use by joining Italian Serie C1/B side Martina Franca. For the first time in several years he managed to complete a full season with a club, however at the end of the season he was not kept on.

Arias returned to South America to join Melipilla of the Chilean Primera Division but in September 2008 his contract was terminated by mutual agreement mainly because he had failed to score a single goal for the club. At the end of the season Melipilla were relegated, but by then he was long gone.

Arias next showed up back in the Argentine 2nd division playing for a small team in his home town called Tiro Federal in 2009. He did not stay with them for long, they tried to offload him onto Australian side Newcastle Jets in July 2009, but despite positive first impressions they didn't sign him on a permanent basis.

In August 2009 his career took him to his 7th different country when he joined Yaracuyanos FC of the Venezuelan 2nd division where he played until December 2009. In March 2010 he signed for Aldosivi back in the Argentine 2nd division alongside another international journeyman footballer familiar to many English football fans; one time "new Maradona", ex-Middlesbrough player Carlos Marinelli.

According to one of the most reliable sources of Argentine football statistics he now plays in the regionalised 3rd division for Los Andes, but on closer inspection it turns out to be a completely different Federico Arias, who was born in 1988 and would only have been 10 years old when our Federico Arias made his professional debut for Rosario Central on 21 November 1998 in a 2-3 home defeat to Boca Juniors.

So what can I say? If the Argentine football statisticians don't even know what happened to him and have resorted to just making it up, I'm at a loss. The only answer to the question of what happened to Federico Arias is that after many years as an international journeyman footballer he completely disappeared into obscurity.

Part of the What ever happened to? series.

Biography: Martín Palermo

"Loco" Palermo during his last season with Estudiantes in 19
Martín "loco" Palermo was one of the most contentious figures in Argentine football. Opinion was divided on the player throughout his career. fans of Boca Juniors understandably view him as one of the greatest strikers in the history of Argentine club football, his critics however call him a donkey and protested vehemently when he was recalled to the Argentina national team in 2010.

Palermo was born in the city of La Plata on 7 November 1973, he joined his local team Estudiantes de La Plata as a teenager and on 5 July 1992 he made his debut for the club in a 0-0 draw against San Lorenzo at the age of 18.

Palermo scored 34 goals in 90 league games for Estudiantes before moving on to join Argentine giants Boca Juniors in 1997. Palermo upped his scoring rate and in Apertura 1998 he became the top scorer in Primera División for the first time with an impressive tally of 20 goals in 19 games, making him the first player to break the 1 goal per game average since Héctor Scotta in 1975. As a result of his phenomenal goalscoring exploits he was selected as South American player of the year for 1998.

During Copa América 1999 he famously missed three penalties in 3-0 defeat against Colombia, earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records and a 10 year exile from the Argentina national team. Later that year he scored his 100th Primera División goal in a game against Colón after brilliant work from Juan Román Riquelme to set up the chance.

In 2000 he was part of the Boca Juniors team that won the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 1978 and then scored both goals to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the Intercontinental Cup. Shortly after this he won his 3rd league title with Boca Juniors in Apertura 2000. This success did not go unnoticed in Europe and Palermo was eventually signed by Spanish side Villarreal in January 2001 for a fee of €7,600,000.

Palermo's time in Spain was not a success, he struggled for form at Villarreal and on 29 November 2001 while celebrating a goal the wall he was standing on collapsed and broke the tibia and fibula of his right leg. Palemo recovered from the injury but continued to struggle for form, he eventually left Villarreal in August 2003 to join Real Betis.  Palermo spent less than a year with Betis before he was offloaded to 2nd division side CD Alavés in March 2004.

During the summer of 2004 Palermo decided that his time in European football had come to an end, so he returned to Boca Juniors who were still on a roll having continued the in the rich vein of form that had started off with their Copa Libertadores win in 2000. 

Palermo slipped quickly back into his goalscoring routine, scoring his 100th goal for Boca Juniors in a 2-0 win against Bolivian side Club Bolívar in the final of Copa Sudamericana 2004. Boca also won Copa Sudamericana 2005, Recopa Sudamericana 2006 and both league championships in the 2005-06 season.

Palermo became the top scorer in the Argentine league once again in the Clausura 2007 tournament with 11 goals in 16 games including a spectacular strike against Independiente from the halfway line, he also scored a hat-trick against his former club Estudiantes, but refused to celebrate any of the goals, as if to make amends to the Estudiantes fans he scored 4 goals against Estudiantes' bitter local rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima in the following game.

2007 was another good year for Boca Juniors, they won their fourth Copa Libertadores in the space of 8 seasons after annihilating Brazilian side Gremio 5-0 in the final, which was still the biggest margin of victory in a Libertadores final despite Palermo missing a penalty in the last few minutes of the 2nd leg.

Boca's astonishing run of success finally ended with the Apertura 2008 championship, since then the club have been in decline, failing to even qualify for Copa Libertadores 2010 or 2011. This decline did not stop Palermo from scoring goals.

In 2009 Palermo surpassed Pancho Varallo's tally of 184 goals in the professional era of Argentine football, unfortunately the charismatic 99 year old survivor from the 1930 World Cup final renaged on his promise to take to the field once again if Palermo broke his goalscoring record. Varallo died in August 2010 and Martín Palermo was amongst the attendees at his funeral.

In 2009 Palermo scored his 200th goal for Boca Juniors in spectacular fashion, netting an overhead kick against Venezuelan side Deportivo Tachira in the Copa Libertadores. In October 2009 he scored an unbelievable header from around 45m out in an entertaining 3-2 win against Vélez Sársfield.

In 2010 Palermo was recalled to the Argentina national team by manager Diego Maradona after a 10 year exile, he scored a vital last minute winner against Peru in a World Cup qualifier and was then selected for Argentina's 2010 World Cup squad despite vehement protests from many normally calm and reasonable commentators. Palermo's job in the World Cup was to come on as a super-sub if Argentina needed a goal. He only played in one game coming on with 10 minutes to go in a Game against Greece in which he did his job by scoring after the keeper spilled Messi's shot. This goal made him the oldest player ever to score for Argentina in the World Cup and also gives him an insane goal average of around 9 goals per game in World Cup finals based on a per minute strike rate.

On 4 September 2010 he overtook Roberto Cherro's all time goalscoring record for Boca Juniors with his 222nd goal for the club in a 1-2 win against San Lorenzo and on 5 June 2011 he scored the final goal of his career with a spectacular strike in a game against Quilmes to join Jose Sanfileppo as the joint 4th highest goalscorer in the professional Argentine Primera División with 227 goals. The following week he was given a huge ovation at the end of his final game at the Bombonera and he finished off his career with a last minute headed assist for team mate Christian Cellay in his final game against Gimnasia.

One of the main reasons that Palermo divided opinion in Argentina is the fact that he was a natural finisher, he was strong, athletic and one of the finest headers of the ball ever seen in Argentine football, not the speedy, technically gifted and exhilarating player of the Maradona mold that Argentinians are naturally inclined to favour. He was unfairly derided as lacking skills and technique and criticised for his robust style of play, in much the same way that another great header of the ball and relentless goalscorer Alan Shearer was unfairly criticised in England. 

Palermo gave his critics plenty of ammunition over the years, with his habit of missing penalties and wasting great opportunities like this one. In his defence he scored 297 career goals, he is the joint 4th highest scorer in the history of the Argentine Primera Division and all time top scorer for Boca Juniors with 236 goals in 404 games (an astonishingly good strike rate). He scored numerous brilliant, spectacular and vital goals during his career and will be remembered by Boca Juniors fans as a well loved and loyal servant to the club.

Golazo: Ezequiel González: Panathinaikos vs Rosenborg, Champions League

14 September 2004: Argentine midfielder Ezequiel González made his Champions League debut for Greek side Panathinaikos against Rosenborg from Norway. He scored both goals in an entertaining 2-1 win.

Gonzalez stayed with Panathinaikos until 2007 and in that time established himself as a real favourite of the fans, with many more great goals and special moments including this goal against Arsenal in the Champions League, this one against Atromitos and these other great moments.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Martín Palermo, Boca Juniors vs Independiente, Clausura 2007

24 February 2007: Boca Juniors were playing Independiente at the Cilindro de Avellaneda. With the home team 1-2 down they were pushing forward trying to get the equaliser when Boca Juniors' Martín Palermo intercepted the ball and when it broke in front of him he shot from the halfway line to beat the goalkeeper and score one of his many remarkable goals.

Part of the Golazo series.

Biography: José Yudica

José Yudica is a former Argentine football manager who was the first manager ever to win the Primera División with three different clubs. What is even more impressive is the fact that none of the teams he turned into championship winners were from the traditional big five.

Yudica was born in Rosario on 7 December 1936, he made his debut for his local team; Newell's Old Boys at the age of 17. He enjoyed a 16 year playing career with the likes of Boca Juniors, Vélez Sársfield, Estudiantes de La Plata, Quilmes and Platense, he also played four games for the Argentina national team. Yudica won his only silverware as a player with Colombian side Deportivo Cali in the late 1960s before returning to Argentina to play for 2nd division side San Telmo where he ended his playing career.

Yudica's first great success as a manager came in 1978 when he led Buenos Aires minnows Quilmes to their first and only championship; the Metropolitano 1978 only 3 years after they had been promoted from the 2nd level. In 1980 Yudica left Quilmes to take over at Estudiantes de La Plata, in his absence Quilmes struggled and were relegated to the 2nd division only 2 seasons after winning the Metropolitano championship.

Yudica returned to Quilmes in 1981 and secured their promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt with a 2nd place finish. Instead of continuing with Quilmes in the Primera División he was persuaded to take over at San Lorenzo who had been relegated from the Primera for the first time in their history the previous season. Yudica led them back to the Primera División as champions at the first attempt. He remained in charge of the club until 1985 when he took over at first time champions Argentinos Juniors after their previous manager Roberto Saporiti had left to take over at Colombian side Atlético Junior.

Yudica kept faith with most of Saporiti's championship winning players and helped them to win their 2nd consecutive league championship before leading them to triumph in the Copa Libertadores in 1985, beating América de Cali in the final. Argentinos Juniors became only the 2nd club to win South America's premier club competition at the first attempt after Brazilian side Flamengo in 1981.

Yudica also led Argentinos Juniors to victory in the now defunct Copa Interamericana in 1986 and a defeat on penalties after a 2-2 draw against Juventus in the 1985 Intercontinental Cup.

In 1987 Yudica returned to his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys as their manager and led them to the Primera Division championship in the 1987-88 season making him the first manager to win the Argentine league with three separate teams, the only other manager to achieve this feat since then is Américo Gallego who did it with River Plate, Independiente and Newell's Old Boys.

In 1990 Yudica took over at Colombian side Deportivo Cali before returning to Argentinos Juniors in 1992 where he had an infamous confrontation with the Barras Bravas (ultras) who accosted him after a practice session about why the team were performing badly in the league. He replied "I am the manager and you belong in the stands". This did not go down well and the irate fans attacked his son, who was his assistant kicking and punching him. Yudica eventually broke up the confrontation by firing a gun in the air, he immediately resigned as manager and severed all connections with the club where he had achieved some of his greatest managerial triumphs, having led them to national and international glory.

Yudica had a stint in charge of another of his former clubs in 1993 when he was manager of Platense and he returned as manager of Newell's once again in 1995. He won yet another league championship in 1996, but this time in Mexico with Pachuca. His last managerial appointment was back at Quilmes in 1997. He has not worked as a manager since then and has spoken of how he felt that he had been frozen out of the game.  He is now an old man and a virtually forgotten figure in Argentine football, which is a real shame because in terms of managerial achievement he is the Brian Clough of Argentine football.

See also

Game of the week: 27 October 2010 Cruzeiro 3-4 Atlético Mineiro.

This weeks game of the week is Brazil's Mineiro derby from Sunday. The home team Cruzeiro had the chance to take the lead in the Brazilian championship with a win against their local rivals Atlético Mineiro who were in the relegation zone.

However the home side found themselves 0-3 down after half an hour thanks to a hat-trick from Atletico striker Obina and eventually lost the game 3-4.

This surprise result lifted Atlético out of the relegation zone, made them the form team in the league with 12 points from their last 5 games and prevented their local rivals from going to the top of the table.

Partidazos: Olimpia vs Grêmio, Copa Libertadores 2002

July 2002: Paraguayan side Olimpia were drawn against Brazilian team Grêmio in the semi-final of the 2002 Copa Libertadores. Grêmio were the favourites but Olimpia's chances couldn't be written off as they had eliminated holders Boca Juniors from the competition in the quarter final with this free kick froNéstor Isasi (they were the only team to eliminate Boca Juniors from the Copa Libertadores between 1999 & 2004).

Olimpia came back from 0-1 down in their home leg to establish a 3-1 lead thanks to two goals from Uruguayan midfielder Sergio Orteman then a magnificent control and shot from Miguel Ángel Benítez, which was spilled by the goalkeeper but worthy of a goal just for the control. Grêmio pulled a goal back in the 85th minute to give themselves a great chance to overturn the deficit back in Brazil.

The second leg looked to be going Grêmio's way, they scored  early in the 2nd half and then Orteman was sent off for lashing out after he was fouled but the Brazilians could not press home their advantage and the tie went to penalties, this was in the days before CONMEBOL used away goals.

The tie turned after Olimpia goalkeeper Ricardo Tavarelli saved a penalty to give the Paraguayans the chance to take the lead The following penalty was saved by the Grêmio goalkeeper but the referee rightly insisted that it be retaken as the keeper had come off his line before the ball was struck. Mauro Caballero hit the penalty again in almost exactly the same place, but . Olimpia scored the rest of their penalties and recorded a famous victory.

Olimpia went on to beat another Brazilian side, São Caetano on penalties, after coming back from 2-0 down in the final to record their hat-trick of Copa Libertadores titles.

For more great games involving South American teams, check out the rest of the Partidazo series.

What ever happened to? Agustín Delgado

Delgado celebrating his goal at Anfield,
which came on his full debut for Southampton
almost a whole year after he joined the club.
In November 2001 Southampton F.C. became the first English side ever to sign an Ecuadorian player when they signed striker Agustín Delgado from Mexican side Necaxa for a fee of £3.5 million.

Delgado who was born in Chota, Ecuador on December 23 1974 had made his professional debut for Espoli in 1991, he also played for Barcelona Sporting Club and El Nacional in his homeland before  moving to Mexico in 1998, he had a short stint with Cruz Azul before joining Necaxa where he played between 1998 and 2001.

Delgado struggled for fitness and had to wait until the13th of January 2002 to make his debut for the club coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United. He had to wait until November 2002 until he got his first chance to start a game, in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in which he scored one of his two goals for the club.

Delgado was never given a regular place in the first team, starting only two league games for the club in nearly 3 years. He played a total of 15 games for the club in all competitions, mostly as a substitute, scoring 2 goals. Delgado openly blamed manager Gordon Strachan for his lack of playing opportunities, saying that Strachan had a personal problem with him.

Strachan's comments give some credence to this interpretation, he publicly dismissed Delgado at a press conference, saying "I've got more important things to think about. I've got a yoghurt to finish by today, the expiry date is today. That can be my priority rather than Agustin Delgado." Delgado is not the only foreign player to have claim that Strachan has personal issues with his players, recently French Middlesbrough midfielder Didier Digard claimed that he was frozen out of the squad by Strachan who blamed the foreigners for the club's plight and filled the team with familiar but inferior Scottish players.

On the other hand Delgado did himself no favours with the club by aggravating an ankle injury by playing through the pain to star for Ecuador in their first World Cup in 2002, in which he scored his nations first ever World Cup goal. He also went AWOL in South America several times during his time at the club. When Delgado eventually walked out of Southampton for the last time, it was not without more harsh words from Strachan and threats from Southampton that they would prevent him playing for any other club until his Southampton contract had expired.

During his time in England 'Tin established the Agustín Delgado foundation which has provided education, healthcare and sports facilities for poor children in Ecuador for the last eight years.

Delgado briefly returned to Ecuador to play for Aucas in 2004 where he reacquainted himself with regular first team football before going back to Mexico where he was part of the Pumas squad that won the Mexican league in 2005.

On 4 June 2005 he scored his 27th goal for Ecuador in a 2-0 win against Argentina, surpassing Eduardo Hurtado's previous record of 26 to become the all time highest goalscorer for his country.

Later that year he returned to Ecuador to play for Barcelona Sporting Club of Guayaquil where he formed a strike partnership with another iconic Ecuadorian player; Crystal Palace flop Iván Kaviedes. It was not a successful time for 'Tin Delgado, he didn't score as many goals as expected and Barcelona continued their long wait for another league title.

'Tin Delgado scores against Poland in the 2006 World Cup.
In 2006 he played in his second World Cup for Ecuador, scoring his last two goals for the national team in games against Poland and Costa Rica. He retired from international football after the tournament with an impressive 31 goals in 71 games for his country.

In 2006 he joined LDU Quito, where he was involved in a mass brawl in a game against his former club Barcelona which resulted in him being given a one year suspension from the game. The suspension was eventually lifted after protesters in his home province blocked the Pan-American highway and the ruling was overturned after a congressional hearing. Delgado apologised for his actions and publicly vowed to forswear violence as a consequence.

In 2007 he helped Liga de Quito to win the Ecuadorian league championship and in 2008 he was part of the squad that became the first Ecuadorian side to win the Copa Libertadores, although he did not play in the extraordinary final against Fluminense. He was described by Liga fans as the perfect super substitute.

Delgado playing for LDU Quito back in Ecuador.
After he left Liga in 2009, he played for Emelec but was released by the club after only a few appearances. 'Tin Delgado returned to football in July 2010 to play for 2nd division side Club Valle del Chota in his home province. In August 2010 he spoke out against corruption and racism in the Ecuadorian police force after he was detained by local police.

Delgado's time on the south coast can be seen from two different perspectives, Southampton fans will fondly  remember his only league goal, the decisive one in a 3-2 win against Arsenal and some die hard fans will remember his goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the League Cup too. Maybe he could be given the benefit of the doubt as a player, the case could be made that he was never given the game time to properly adjust to English football.

Alternatively he could be seen as a player that gave his international career much more attention than the fortunes of the club that was paying his wages, for whom he barely started a game, fell out with his manager and went AWOL after international duty too many times.

Whatever is said about him, he had a lot of success before he arrived at Southampton, and he experienced more success after he left the club, he is a record breaking player for his country, an iconic player to Ecuadorian football fans and nobody could complain about the fact that he has spent his time and money on helping underprivileged children over the last 8 years.

See also

Part of the What ever happened to? series.

Pick of the week: 26 October 2010

Welcome to this weeks round up of the best games from the rest of South America. 

Colo-Colo now have a 7 point advantage at the top of the table after they won 1-2 at Palestino featuring two spectacular goals, one from Cristobal Jorquera and then Esteban Paredes brilliant last minute winner for the would be champions.

Universidad Cátolica kept up the chase with an impressive 1-4 away win at Ñublense but Universidad de Concepción slipped up again losing 3-0 away at Huachipato, after they couldn't deal with the swift counter attacks of the home team, their 2nd goal from Manuel Villalobos was particularly good. 


Deportes Tolima are the only Colombian team through to the quarter finals of the Copa Sudamericana and at the weekend they took the lead in the Colombian lead with a 3-0 win against La Equidad, taking advantage of Santa Fe's 1-1 draw away at Cucuta Deportivo.

Once Caldas are in third after coming back from 0-1 down to beat Atlético Huila 2-1 and Atlético Nacional are in 4th place after a 1-1 draw with Envigado.

High scoring specialists Deportivo Cali won 3-1 against Real Cartegena, Boyacá Chico recorded a 3-3 draw with Independiente Medellín and Millonarios recovered from their 2-1 midweek defeat to Atlético Nacional to beat Deportes Pereira 2-1.


Much like Deportes Tolima in Colombia, LDU Quito are top of the league after a 3-0 win against Macará and the only Ecuadorian representative left in Copa Sudamericana.

Deportivo Cuenca are 2 points behind LDU in 2nd place after a 2-1 win against strugglers Universidad Catolica. 3rd placed Emelec did not play at the weekend and are 9 points behind the leaders, but they do hold 3 games in hand. 4th placed Deportivo Quito recorder an impressive 4-0 result against Manta.


Leaders Libertad equalised twice to draw 2-2 at home against Olimpia, who's 2nd goal was an absolute screamer from Richard Ortíz. 2nd placed Cerro Porteño wasted the opportunity to steal the lead at the top of the table after they suffered a surprise 1-3 home defeat to Tacuary.


In Bolivia the top four teams all won and are still only separated by 3 points. Bolívar are top after a 2-1 win against Oriente Petrolero. One point behind the leaders with a game in hand are San José after they thrashed Gaubariá 5-1. Blooming beat bottom of the table Jorge Wilstermann 3-0 to stay 3rd and Aurora are only 3 points behind the leaders with a game in hand after beating La Paz 2-1.


The runaway leaders of group A, Universidad San Matín extended their lead at the top to five points with a 1-5 win against Total Chalaco. USM opened with two stunning goals,  Pablo Vitti (a former Argentine wonder kid who lost his way and ended up playing in Peru) knocked in a couple more goals before Total keeper Eder Hermosa gifted them a fifth, Total scored a late consolation with a good goal from Franco Mendoza.

In group B there are no runaway leaders, the top 5 are separated by only 2 points. Sport Boys are now top of the pile after a 2-1 win against Melgar. The previous group leaders Juan Aurich were surprisingly beaten 3-0 by Cienciano, who had been bottom of the table with only 1 point at the start of play. Alianza Atlético dropped from 2nd to 5th after a 5-0 gubbing by Sport Huancayo.


In Uruguay the minnows El Tanque Sisley are alone at the top of the table after a 1-2 away win at Bella Vista, still not enough fans to upload any video of this remarkable story onto the internet though. Defensor Sporting Club are in 2nd after a 4-1 win against Rampla Juniors. Peñarol are in 3rd with a game in hand after a 1-0 win against Danubio and Montevideo Wanderers are 4th after a 2-2 draw with Fénix.


The top three in Venezuela are only separated by one point, Real Esporr are still top after a 0-1 away win against Caroní. Caracas FC have climbed into 2nd after a 2-1 win against Atletico El Vigía and Deportivo Tachira slipped to 3rd after a 1-1 draw with Mineros.

Partidazo: Bahia 4-7 Santos, Brasileirão 2003

22 October 2003: Brazilian team Santos were in a championship race with Cruzeiro. In the previous round of fixtures Cruzeiro had lost 1-2 against Juventude so in the first fixture of the 38th round Santos played out an incredible 4-7 against Bahia, with 2 goals from teenage sensation Robinho, to put pressure on Cruzeiro.


Cruzeiro lost their next game away at Internacional, but in the end they finished 13 points clear of Santos to claim their first ever Brazilian league championship. Bahia were relegated after losing 0-7 at home against the champions on the last day of the season.

For more great games involving South American teams, check out the rest of the Partidazo series.

Golazo: Pelé, Brazil vs Mexico, 1962 World Cup

Pele missed most of Brazil's 1962 World Cup success because of an injury sustained against Czechoslovakia,  he did leave his mark on the tournament scoring this brilliant goal in Brazil's opening game against Mexico.

Part of the Golazo series.

higlights: Brasileirão Série A 2010 - round 31

Obima scored a 1st half hat-trick as Atlético Mineiro won 3-4 to dent the title aspirations of local rivals Cruzeiro.

On Saturday Botafogo beat Vitória 1-0 with a great free kick from Marcelo Cordeiro and then Atlético Goianiense recorded their third consecutive win with an impressive 0-1 away result at Guaraní.

Sunday saw three local derbies, Corinthians ended their dismal run of results with a 1-0 win over local rivals Palmeiras and are now within one point of the leading pair after leaders Cruzeiro were beaten 3-4 at home by local rivals Atlético Mineiro, who have climbed out of the relegation zone at the expense of Vitória.  4 wins in the last 5 games makes Atlético Mineiro the form team in the division. Two of the other teams faced eachother, Goiás leapfrogging Avai into 18th place with a 1-0 win.

Sunday's other local derby ended in a 2-2 draw between Grêmio and Internacional, both sides missing their chance to close the gap on the leading three teams.

Other teams will be ruing their missed opportunities, Fluminense could have gone 2 points clear at the top but they could only manage a draw against Atlético Paranaense and 4th placed Santos missed the opportunity to close the gap on the top three after throwing away a 2-0 half time lead to lose 2-3 at home to bottom of the table Grêmio Prudente.

São Paulo have to admit that their title aspirations are now very unrealistic after a 2-0 defeat to Ceará left them in 9th place 10 points behind the leaders with only 7 games left, the 2nd goal of the game was a great strike from Diego Sacoman, but came from some pathetic defending. In another mid table encounter Vasco da Gama played out a 1-1 draw with Flamengo, which featured a freak goal for Vasco's Cesinha, when a deflected clearance bounced off the crossbar straight into his path, Flamengo equalised late in the game after Vasco's Dedé got himself sent off.

Botafogo 1-0 Vitória
Guaraní 0-1Atlético Goianiense
Corinthians 1-0 Palmeiras
Goiás 1-0 Avai
Ceará 2-0 São Paulo
Atlético Paranaense 2-2 Fluminense
Santos 2-3 Grêmio Prudente
Vasco da Gama 1-1 Flamengo
Cruziero 3-4 Atlético Mineiro
Grêmio 2-2 Internacional

Highlights: Argentine Primera División, Apertura 2010 - Fecha 12

Carlos Quintana scored the first goal in Huracán's historic 3-0 win in the Clásico Porteño 

The two key games in the title race were played on Friday night, Arsenal de Sarandí were beaten from 1-0 up at half time by Godoy Cruz, who have overtaken Arsenal as the side with the best away record in the division. In the next game Estudiantes got what they wanted at Vélez Sársfield, stifling the top scoring duo of Santiago Silva and Juan Manuel Martínez to record a 0-0 draw and maintain their 3 point advantage at the top.

Aside from Godoy Cruz the only one of the chasing pack to record a win were Newell's Old Boys who beat perennial strugglers Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata by one goal to nil. Gimnasia are really struggling for goals, unlike Tigre who beat Olimpo 3-2 in an entertaining encounter to move themselves away from the drop zone, their opening goal came from Denis Stracquelursi who joined from Gimnasia in the summer and is now only one goal behind the top scorers with six in twelve games, how Gimnasia could do with those goals now.

In the Clásico Porteño, Huracán inflicted a 3-0 defeat on San Lorenzo with two magnificent goals from Carlos Quintana and Facundo Quiroga then a twice taken penalty to score more than two goals against their fiercest rivals for the first time since 1976 and completely reverse the scoreline from the last encounter between the clubs. San Lorenzo now look completely out of the title race after 3 defeats in the last 4 games, and given the trigger happy mentality of most South American clubs, former Oxford United manager Ramón Diaz will be worrying about getting the sack.

Round 12 saw two encounters between the big five clubs, River Plate drew 1-1 with Racing Club to record their 5th consecutive draw and sixth game without a win. Independiente, buoyed by their midweek win in Copa Sudamericana gave Boca Juniors a good game but neither side could find the net, leaving them both in the bottom half of the table.

The surprise result of the round has to be Lanús' 1-2 home defeat to Colón, who seem to have recovered well from the double blow of losing their manager and getting anihilated 6-0 by Vélez in round 10.

Reigning champions Argentinos Juniors beat All Boys 1-0, and with 3 wins in the last five they can set themselves the realistic target of avoiding the embarrasment of finishing in the bottom few places of the division in the season following their first championship in 25 years.

Lastly we come to Quilmes, who are still without a win after 12 games after a 2-0 defeat to Banfield. With only six points they have an average of 0.5 points per game, even the dismal Gimnasia y Esgrima team have 1.114 points per game and  Huracán (the team in the last safe position of 16th) have 1.227.

Arsenal de Sarandí 1-3 Godoy Cruz
Vélez Sársfield 0-0Estudiantes
Argentinos Juniors 1-0 All Boys
River Plate 1-1 Racing Club
Qilmes 0-2 Banfield
Lanús 1-2 Colón
Huracán 3-0 San Lorenzo
Independiente 0-0 Boca Juniors
Newell's Old Boys 1-0 Gimnasia La Plata
Tigre 3-2 Olimpo

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Partidazo: Rosario Central 7-2 Boca Juniors,

6 July 2003: In the last game of the Clausura 2003 championship Rosario Central hosted Boca Juniors. Boca were in 2nd place but the championship had already been won by their fierce rivals River Plate. Boca had just won the final of the 2003 Copa Libertadores, making them champions of South America for the 3rd time in 4 seasons, so they put out a number of reserve team players and suffered a historic 7-2 defeat as a consequence, with Luciano Figueroa poaching 5 goals to make him the top scorer in the championship with 17 in 19 games.


Luciano Figueroa was sold to Premier League side Birmingham City for £2.5 million later that summer, but he suffered six months of inaction as manager Steve Bruce refused to give him a chance to play in the first team, he was eventually offloaded to Cruz Azul of Mexico where he set about rebuilding his career.

Boca continued their run of success winning another 7 international titles and 4 league titles over the following 5 years before their form slipped in 2009 ending the most successful period in the club's history.

Figueroa returned to Rosario Central in 2009, but they were relegated from the Primera División at the end of the 2009-10 season.

For more great games involving South American teams, check out the rest of the Partidazo series.

What ever happened to? Luciano Figueroa

A rare sight; Figueroa in Birmingham colours.

In July 2003 Birmingham City signed 22 year old Argentine striker Luciano Figueroa from Rosario Central for a fee of £2.5 million. Figueroa had just finished as the top scorer in the Clausura 2003 tournament back in Argentina with 17 goals in 19 games and was being described by some as the next Gabriel Batistuta. He had scored a total of 35 goals in 57 league games for his home town club and Birmingham manager Steve Bruce said that "we believe that for the money we've spent we have got a very very good player".

After FIFA overturned a challenge to the deal by Spanish side Osasuna who claimed that they had signed the player first, Figueroa was free to play for Birmingham from October. However he was never really given a chance, he never started a game, only ever making 2 substitute appearances for the club, which came in a 2-0 defeat to Portsmouth in the league and in a 1-0 defeat to Blackpool in the League Cup. The reason Bruce gave for this lack of opportunity was that  "he was always going to have problems in the Premiership, because of his physique." A statement that raises the question of why Figueroa was signed by Bruce in the first place if he had poor physique.

Figueroa rediscovered his form
at Mexican side Cruz Azul.
Eventually Birmingham let him leave to join Mexican side Cruz Azul, where he worked hard to regain his match fitness and scoring touch. He knocked in 19 goals in 27 league games helping the club to reach the semi finals of the Clausura 2004 championship.

In the summer of 2004 he was selected for the Argentina squad for the Copa América 2004 in Peru alongside Sunderland flop Nicolás Medina. He played in several of the games and scored 2 vital goals against Uruguay to secure Argentina's progress to the 2nd round. Later that summer he won an Olympic gold medal as part of the Argentina squad that won the Olympic football tournament in Athens.

Figueroa secured a return to European football in November 2004, signing a five and a half year deal with Spanish side Villarreal. He was part of the team that secured Villarreal's highest ever league position of 3rd, and qualification to the 2005-06 Champions League.

After leaving Birmingham, Figueroa enjoyed
a successful stint in the Argentina national team.
In 2005 he played for Argentina in the Confederations Cup, where he finished as the 2nd highest scorer in the tournament behind Brazilian striker Adriano. He has not played international football for Argentina since 2005 but his short international career must be considered a success, having scored 9 goals in his 15 full international appearances.

Figueroa had dropped off the radar for most English football fans since he was released by Birmingham, but reacquainted himself with them in 2005 when he was part of the Villarreal side that eliminated Everton from the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League, he scored the opening goal in the first leg which was Villarreal's first ever goal in the competition. He helped Villarreal finish top of group D, in which Manchester United surprisingly finished last. Villarreal went on to reach the semi-finals of the tournament, but by then Figueroa had lost his place in the first team.

In 2006 he returned to Argentina for a brief loan spell with River Plate, in which he scored 3 goals in 7 games, before suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury that ended his loan spell and kept him out of the game for over 18 months.

While he was still injured he was signed by big spending Italian 2nd division side Genoa, but his recovery was delayed when his knee operation had to be redone. He eventually made his debut for the club on 28 October 2007, nearly 15 months after he joined them, by which time the club had been promoted to Serie A. He never really settled in Genoa, only scoring 3 goals in 23 league games for the club. Of all the clubs he has played for, Genoa is the only one in which he had a comparably bad time to his few months at Birmingham in 2003.

When Figueroa signed for Boca Juniors
in 2008 he joined a select band of players
to have played for Boca & River.
In 2008 he returned to Argentina to play for Boca Juniors, putting himself on the exclusive list of players to have worn the shirt of Boca and River, which includes Abel Balbo, Gabriel Batistuta, Claudio Cannigia, J.J. López, Panco Sá and Nelson Vivas.

Figueroa returned to form at Boca, scoring 7 goals in 17 league games for the club, including the goal of the week in the last fixture of the Apertura 2008 championship, helping Boca Juniors to secure their 23rd professional league championship after a 3 way playoff with Tigre and San Lorenzo.

Figueroa returned to Genoa after Boca Juniors rejected the chance to buy him out of his contract with the Italian club. He only made a handful of further appearances for them before he was released from his contract in January 2010.

He returned to his boyhood club Rosario Central, but despite an improvement in form they were relegated at the end of the 2009-10 season after losing their promotion/relegation playoff against Buenos Aires minnows All Boys. He is currently plying his trade in the Argentine 2nd division, hoping to secure Central a quick return to the Primera División.

It cannot be denied that Figueroa had a disastrous time in the Midlands, but given his impressive scoring record for the Argentina national team, Rosario Central, Cruz Azul, River Plate and Boca Juniors, it seems that Birmingham may have missed out on a few goals when Steve Bruce decided to freeze his new signing out of the first team.

See also

Part of the What ever happened to? series.