CONMEBOL roundup: 28-02-11


There has been a lot of action in Chile this week, including a double round of league fixtures and two major managerial appointments.

Colo-Colo took their time to find a replacement for Diego "Despreocupado" Cagna after their dismal performance at the start of the season and they eventually selected veteran Argentine manager Américo Gallego, who is only the second manger ever to win the Argentine Primera División with three different teams (the only other being José Yudica). He got to see his new team crawl off the bottom of the table with their first win of the season a 0-3 away win against Palestino which featured this classy goal from Cristobal Jorquera.

The other major managerial appointment was Claudio Borghi as national team coach, yet another Argentine manager in a top position in Chilean football.

Back to the league and there is now a three way tie at the top.

Universidad de Chile recovered from a surprise 1-2 home defeat against Santiago Morning on Thursday to batter Universidad de Concepción 1-5.

Reigning champions Universidad Cátolica are also on 13 points after a 2-3 away win against O'Higgins in which their opponents contrived to waste two penalties, followed by a 1-1 draw with Santiago Wanderers.

The third team at the top are newly promoted Unión La Calera who beat a hapless La Sirena team 2-0 and then beat Cobreloa 0-1.


There were some cracking games in the fourth round of the Colombian Apertura. Junior managed to get their season back on track with a 2-1 win against Deportivo Pereira. The spectacular winning goal was somewhat overshadowed by the controversial owl abuse from Pereira's Panamanian defender Luis Moreno.

Once Caldas stayed in first position with a 3-2 win against Real Cartagena. Independiente and Millonarios played out an entertaining 3-3 draw and Deportivo Cali find themselves bottom of the table and pointless after four games after losing 2-0 against Boyacá Chicó.


The big game in paraguay between Cerro Porteño and Olimpia  resulted in a 1-2 win for the visitors who now have a seven point lead at the top of the league and also in the sacking of Cerro Porteño manager Blas Cristaldo. Olimpia have the maximum eighteen points from their six games while Cerro are miles behind in seventh place with only five points from their four games.


After a disatrous 2010 Cienciano have started 2011 in good form as the only Peruvian team to manage three wins in the opening three games. Their latest win was a convincing 3-0 victory against Sport Boys, all three goals in the game were excellent, two long range strikes and an exquisite lob from Diego Bustamante.

The two runaway leaders in last year's competition and the Peruvian representatives in Copa Libertadores 2011 are both struggling. León climbed away from the bottom of the table with a 0-1 win against Universidad César Vallejo and Universidad San Martín are in mid table after a 1-0 away defeat to Universitario.


Liga de Quito are top of the Ecuadorian league after a 1-2 away win at El Nacional, Emelec are two points behind them with a game in hand which will be the Clásico del Astillero against Barcelona Sporting Club on Thursday 3 March.


Oriente Petrolero lost their second consecutive game 2-1 away defeat against Nacional, but their five wins in a row at the start of the campaign is enough to keep them joint top of the table on 15 points and with a game in hand on the other two.

Both of the chasing pair won their games by the odd goal in five to catch up with Oriente; Bolívar beat Guabirá 3-2 and Aurora beat La Paz by the same score.


The big story in Uruguay is that River Plate are still pointless and bottom of the table after a 1-4 capitulation against Racing Club in front of their own fans. Last year's fairytale side El Tanque Sisley are the only other team with no points but they have two games in hand having only played twice so far.

Central Español lead the way with 10 points from their four games after a 0-1 win against Miramar Misiones.


Zamora FC are the form team in Venezuela having won both their games last week with a 3-1 home win against Deportivo Lara and a 0-3 away win against Atlético El Vigía. They are now only two points behind top side Anzoátegui with a game in hand.

For more South American football highlights, including the Argentine & Brazilian leagues and international tournaments: click here.

Golazo: Cristobal Jorquera vs Palestino, Torneo Nacional 2011

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29 time champions Colo-Colo made their worst ever start to a league season at the beginning of the Chilean national championship in 2011 losing three of their first four games to find themselves bottom of the table. A humiliating 1-5 defeat against Universidad de Concepción was enough to finish manager Diego Cagna, who had earned himself the nickname "Despreocupado" for his relaxed and unconcerned attitude towards the pathetic displays from his team. Things got worse for Colo-Colo before they got better, they suffered a humiliating 5-2 defeat againsr Cerro Porteño in Copa Libertadores 2011.

Things began to improve for the Chilean giants with a 0-3 win against Palestino, their second goal was this excellent strike from Cristobal Jorquera.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Luis Páez vs Deportivo Pereira, Primera A Colombia, Apertura 2011

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On 27 February 2011 Junior played Deportivo Pereira in the fourth round of the Colombian Apertura 2011 tournament. Junior secured an important 2-1 win thanks to this spectacular individual goal from Luis Páez.

The goal was however overshadowed when Pereira's Panamanian defender Luis Moreno kicked Junior's owl mascot off the pitch!

Part of the Golazo series.

Luis Moreno owl abuse

On 27 February 2011 Junior faced Deportivo Pereira in the Colombia Primara A. The home team managed to earn a 2-1 win in an entertaining game to get their title challenge back on track . The winning goal was a spectacular individual effort from Luis Páez but it was overshadowed by this moment of animal cruelty.

The incident started when an attempted clearance from the Pereira full back hit the Junior club mascot. Questions have to be asked as to why the owl had been allowed to wander about on the pitch in the middle of the game but the real shocker came a few seconds later when Pereira's Panamanian defender Luis Moreno decided to get the clearly injured animal off the pitch by booting it into touch.

The owl survived with only a minor fracture to it's right leg. The home crowd then shouted abuse at Moreno for the rest of the game and chanted "murderer" at him. After the game Moreno had to be escorted off the field by police and then said that he was sorry and that he only flicked it up with his foot to see if it could fly. 

If the authorities bow to public opinion on the matter then Moreno looks set to suffer some severe punishment, whether from the football authorities or through criminal charges for animal cruelty.


According to press reports the owl died of shock two days later, Moreno is getting death threats and faces up to three months in jail.

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

Alexis Sánchez 4 goals vs Palermo, Serie A 2010-11

On 27 February 2011 Chilean winger Alexis Sánchez had the game of his life for Udinese against Palermo scoring four goals in a 0-7 demolition job. The other three goals were scored by club captain Antonio Di Natale who jumped above Uruguayan Napoli striker Edison Cavani to lead the top scorers chart with 21 goals after 27 games.

Golazo: Ronaldinho vs Boavista, Carioca 2011

On 27 February 2011 Flamengo faced Boavista in the final of the Campeonato Carioca in Brazil. Flamengo won the game 1-0 thanks to this free kick from former Barcelona and AC Milan player Ronaldinho. The fact that Flamengo could afford to bring back the two time World Footballer of the year relatively early in his career is a demonstration of the growing financial strength of the Brazilian domestic game.

Part of the Golazo series.

Incredible rain in Estádio do Morumbi, Paulista 2011

On 27 February 2011 São Paulo faced Palmeiras in the 10th round of the 2011 Paulista championship. There was a torrential downpour before the game resulting in stands and dugouts full of water and a pitch looking like something that only English sides in the 1970s would be crazy enough to play on.

Amazingly the game went ahead, the final score was 1-1.

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

Pablo Ferrari ruled offside vs Independiente, Clausura 2011

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On 27 February 2011 Independiente hosted River Plate in the 3rd round of the Clausura 2011 tournament. Independiente needed the win to break their sequence of 13 league games without a win and River Plate knew that a win would allow them to go joint top with Olimpo (another side battling to avoid relegation).

In the first half this River Plate goal from Pablo Ferrari was incorrectly ruled offside by the linesman, at first glance you may think he was right to rule it out but a player cannot be judged to be offside if he is behind the ball and the passing player plays it in a forward direction.

In the end the decision did not cost River any points because Mariano Pavone knocked in an 88th minute winner for the visitors.

Fecha 3, Clausura 2011, Argentina

Details of the third round of games in the Clausura 2011 tournament.

Paraguayan striker Jorge Achucarro was Banfield's goalscoring
hero in their surprise 0-1 away win against Estudiantes.

Olimpo were the surprise joint leaders on six points after the first two games but they dropped their first points of the campaign after an enthralling 3-3 draw against Godoy Cruz, who despite losing several influential players continue to play entertaining football. Olimpo will be both disappointed to have thrown away their 2-0 half time lead but also relieved to have salvaged a point with an injury time equaliser, especially given that Salom was clearly offside when he received the ball during the buildup play.

Gimnaisia y Esgrima de La Plata put an end to their 14 game run without an away win in the league with a 1-3 win against Colón. Juan Neira scored either side of a Gabriel Graciani strike for the hosts before Lucas Castro chipped in with yet another injury time goal (one of 10 goals scored in the 88th minute or later in the first 22 fixtures).

Quilmes look like they are getting off to another terrible start, they are the only team without a point and bottom of the relegation standings after their 2-1 defeat to Lanús. All of the goals came in the first half and Diego Valeri was the hero for the home team with both of their goals either side of a Pablo Garnier. Lanús undobtedly have one of the stars of the league in "Italian" World Cup winner Mauro Comoranesi, who put in a good performance and played the assist for Valeri's goal.

Racing Club came back from a goal down to San Lorenzo to secure another impressive 1-2 away win. Jonathan Botinelli opened the scoring for the hosts with a header after ten minutes but Racing Club responded well considering they aare without their iconic Colombian "enganche" Gio Moreno. Both of their goals came from supurb Iván Pillud crosses and were converted by their other Colombian Teó Gutiérrez. It was an excellent result for Racing after the disappointment of their home defeat to Boca Juniors last weekend, San Lorenzo on the other hand will be bitterly disapponted to have lost this game against a team that are missing the player that is widely regarded as their most influential player.

The Boca Juniors manager Julio Cesár Falcioni took the very brave decision to drop star player Juan Román Riquelme even though he was fit to play against All Boys, a decision I predicted that he would have to deal with in my Clausura 2011 preview. Unfortunately for Falcioni his attempt to assert authority over the team was not particularly sucessful becuase they could only manage a 0-0 draw, giving critics amongst the fans plenty of ammunition to use against their new manager. It would only take a few more controversial decisions like "Riquelmegate" to see Falcioni end up thrown on the Boca Juniors scrapheap like newly installed Chile manager Claudio Borghi was in the Apertura.

River Plate joined Olimpo at the top of the table on seven points with a 0-1 away win against Independiente who have now gone 14 league games without a win. Mariano Pavone scored in the 88th minute to secure the three points for River. They should already have been ahead but the linesman made an incredibly bad call to rule out Pablo Ferrari's first half strike, you can't be offside if you are behind the ball and it is played forwards. What makes the decision even worse was that it was another fine passing move that set up the chance.

Banfield pulled off the shock result of the round with a 0-1 away win against Estudiantes. Not only was it Banfield's first win in ten league games it ended Estudiantes run of seventeen home games unbeaten, their sequence of ten consecutive home wins and their run of seven wins in a row home and away.

Argentinos Juniors ended up with yet another draw but they will not be too disappointed with a 1-1 result against Vélez Sársfield since they played the last half hour with only ten men. David Ramírez scored again for his new team to put Vélez one goal ahead at half time. In the second half Mauro Bogado was sent off for the hosts before Franco Niell (5' 4") nipped in to score with a near post header.

In the monday night fixtures relegation strugglers Huracán will be pleased that their new striker Javier Cámpora got his first goal from open play but severely disappointed with the slack defending that gifted Arsenal their equaliser. Tigre will also be happy that their key striker has bagged his first goal of the season in their 1-0 win against Newell's Old Boys. Joint top scorer in the last tournament Denis Straqualursi will need to keep firing them in if Tigre are going to stay out of the relegation zone.


Colón 1-3 Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP)
Olimpo 3-3 Godoy Cruz
Lanús 2-1 Quilmes
San Lorenzo 1-2Racing Club
Boca Juniors 0-0 All Boys
Estudiantes 0-1 Banfield
Argentinos Juniors 1-1 Velez Sársfield
Independiente 0-1 River Plate
Huracán 1-1 Arsenal
Tigre 1-0 Newell's Old Boys


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Olimpo 3 2 1 0 8 5 +3 7
2 River Plate 3 2 1 0 3 0 +3 7
3 Lanús 3 2 0 1 6 4 +2 6
4 Estudiantes 3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 6
5 Racing 3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 6
6 Godoy Cruz 3 1 1 1 7 6 +1 4
7 San Lorenzo 3 1 1 1 4 3 +1 4
8 Gimnasia (La Plata) 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4
9 Arsenal 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4
10 Colón 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4
11 Banfield 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
12 All Boys 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
13 Tigre 3 1 1 1 1 2 −1 4
14 Boca Juniors 3 1 1 1 2 4 −2 4
15 Argentinos Juniors 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
16 Newell's Old Boys 3 1 0 2 3 4 −1 3
17 Vélez Sársfield 3 0 2 1 4 5 −1 2
18 Independiente 3 0 2 1 2 3 −1 2
19 Huracán 3 0 2 1 2 4 −2 2
20 Quilmes 3 0 0 3 1 5 −4 0

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

What ever happened to? Jhon Viáfara

Viáfara playing for Portsmouth
against Middlesbrough in 2005.
In June 2005 Portsmouth FC manager Alan Perrin signed Colombia international midfielder Jhon Viáfara from Once Caldas for a fee of £800,000 as he rebuilt the team for the 2005-06 Premier League season.

Viáfara had started his playing career in 1999 with Deportivo Pasto where he played until 2003 sandwiching a brief stint with América de Cali. He came to international attention as part of the Once Caldas team that stunned South America by winning 2004 Copa Libertadores. Their triumph against the holders Boca Juniors in the final was one of the biggest shocks in the history of the tournament because Once Caldas had only ever won two Colombian league titles at the time and Boca Juniors were undoubtedly the strongest team in South America having utterly dominated the Copa Libertadores winning the tournament in 2000, 2001 & 2003. Viáfara was one of the most easily identifiable stars of the Once Caldas team having scored this wonderful long range goal only eight minutes into the second leg of the final.

He also attracted more attention playing for the Colombia national team that reached the semi-finals of the 2004 Copa América tournament and took to the world stage again to play for Once Caldas in the last ever Intercontinental Cup final against Porto.

Viáfara played quite regularly for Portsmouth in the early part of the 2005-06 season however after the sacking of Perrin and his replacement by Harry Redknapp Viáfara was farmed out on loan to Real Sociedad. Viáfara played a total of 15 games for Portsmouth, (14 in the league and 1 in the League Cup). He headed his only goal for Pompey in a 2-1 defeat against Manchester City.

After completing the 2005-06 season with Real Sociedad he returned to England and was transferred to Portsmouth's fierce local rivals Southampton FC for a reported fee of £750,000. He had a solid 2006-07 season with the club but there was an unfortunate end to the season for him. He put in a great performance scoring two goals in the Championship playoff semi-final against Derby County but saw his team eliminated on penalties. To make matters worse Derby went on to secure promotion but suffered a record-breakingly bad season only winning one of their 38 top flight games.

In the summer break he represented the Colombia national team at Copa América 2007. There was no repeat of Colombia's run to the semi-final, due mainly to a devestating 5-0 defeat to Paraguay in the opening game.

Viáfara in Southampton Colours

Viáfara continued to play for the Saints until the summer of 2008 when he was allowed to leave by short lived Dutch manager Jan Poortvliet who stated that he did not want anyone who was not completely committed to the club to remain. The official reason given for his departure was that he was homesick, however the turmoil at the club and his public falling out with Poortvliet must also be taken into consideration.

It is no surprise that Viáfara did decide to leave Southampton to return to Once Caldas. he had played under four different Saints managers within a six month period, the club were struggling at the wrong end of the table in the 2nd tier of English football, he was having a tough time but instead of offering support Poortvliet  resorted to banning him from training and dishing out public criticism. All a far cry from his experiences in the Copa Libertadores final, the semi-finals of Copa América and the Intercontinental Cup final. He made a total of 83 appearances for the Saints, scoring 7 goals.

Viáfara scored a vital goal for Once Caldas in the
2004 Copa Libertadores final, he returned to the club in 2008.
Viáfara's return to Once Caldas coincided with a huge improvement in fortune for the team They went from struggling along near the bottom of the table to winning the Apertura 2009 tournament, a stunning achievement given that they only scraped into the playoffs in the last of the eight available positions.

In 2010 he joined La Equidad and helped them to reach the final of the 2010 Apertura where they lost on penalties to Junior. They also reached the playoffs in the Clausura 2010 tournament. After this highly successful year with one of Colombia's smaller teams he was signed by Atlético Junior for the 2011 season and their 2011 Copa Libertadores campaign.

Viáfara's career with Junior has got off to a great start, he scored vital goals in both of their opening games of the Copa Libertadores Group 2 games. The first was the opening goal in a decent 1-2 away win against tournament debutants León de Huánuco and the second was the winner in a 2-1 home win against Brazilian giants and group favourites Gremio.

Viáfara celebrating his goal for Junior against León
in the 2011 Copa Libertadores group stages.
It seems that after several difficult years in English football Viáfara has managed to resurrect his playing career and is enjoying his return to the international stage. He has played a total of 32 games for his country, scoring 1 goal. 2008 was a particularly bad year for him, not only was he stuck in the middle of the Southampton débâcle for much of it, it was also is the only year since 2003 that he failed to make any appearances for the Colombia national team.  At the age of 32 and having rediscovered his form he can still keep his hopes alive of playing Copa América this summer or perhaps even the World Cup in 2014.

Portsmouth fans memories of Viáfara will understandably be clouded by his association with the disastrous Perrin era that nearly resulted in relegation, however few would put the blame directly on Viáfara's shoulders. He will be more fondly remembered by Southampton fans. Even though at the time they were experiencing their first few seasons outside the top flight in 27 years he was one of their more reliable players and things have got much worse for them since his departure back in 2008.

Viáfara can also count himself as one of a select band of players to have crossed the south coast rivalry which includes players such as C.B. Fry, Bill Rochford, Mick Mills, Mick Channon, Dave Beasant, John Beresford, Antii Niemi, Eyal Berkovic, Vincent Péricard, Peter Crouch and Ricardo Fuller.

Part of the What ever happened to? series.

Golazo: Jhon Viáfara vs Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores final 2004.

In 2004 Colombian minnows Once Caldas reached the Copa Libertadores final where they faced Boca Juniors, who at the time were undoubtedy the strongest team in South America, having won three of the last four Libertadores finals.

After a goalless draw in the first leg Jhon Viáfara hit this blistering shot to give the Colombian minnows the lead after only 8 minutes of the return fixture. Boca Juniors equalised through Nicolás Burdisso and the game went to extra time and then penalties. Once Caldas won the shootout 2-0 in what must have been one of the worst penalty shootouts in a major international final (only 2 of the 8 penalties went in), not that the Once Caldas players or fans were bothered, they were too busy celebrating only the third major title in their entire history.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Cristian Pellerano vs Peñarol, Copa Libertadores 2011

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On 24 February 2011 two of the most famous names in the history of the Copa Libertadores faced each other in Group 8 of the 2011 edition of the tournament. The home team Independiente are the record seven time champions and the visitors Peñarol of are the third most successful team with five wins.

After a goalless first half Independiente utterly dominated the second half to secure a 3-0 win. The pick of the goals was this ferocious shot from midfielder Cristian Pellerano.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Cristian Sánchez Prette vs Club América, Copa Libertadores 2011

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On 24 February 2011 1985 Copa Libertadores champions Argentinos Juniors faced Mexican side Club América in group 3 of the 2011 Copa Libertadores. They had already come back from a goal behind to lead 2-1 thanks to a couple of goals from Santiago Salcedo when Cristian Sánchez Prette sealed them a vital 3-1 win with this 93rd minute strike.

The Mexican opposition are clearly resigned to defeat, witness the way the full back completely pulls out of the challenge and the freedom that Argentinos are allowed in posession for the rest of the move. Even though it stemmed from a long ball and América should have pressurised Argentinos more, the goal was still a nice finish to conclude some neat buildup play.

Part of the Golazo series.

Cosas locas: Bryan Carrasco autoaggression

On 13 February 2011 Ecuador U-20 and Chile U-20 faced each other in the last round of fixtures in the Sudamericano sub-20 championship. The game would determine which of the two teams would qualify to play in the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.

Ecuador won the game 1-0 and qualified but the most famous incident in the game was not Dixon Arroyo's spectacular long range strike to win the game, it was this bizarre incident where Chilean defender Bryan Carrasco hit himself in the face with Edson Montaño's hand in order to try and get the Ecuadorian sent off.

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

Golazo: Victor Hugo Ayala vs Once Caldas, 2011 Copa Libertadores

In the second round of Group 1 games in Copa Libertadores 2011 Once Caldas looked like they had recovered from their shock 0-3 battering from the Peruvian side Universidad San Martín in their first game to put in a good performance against Paraguayan champions Libertad, A Dayro Moreno goal for the Colombians looked like it would be enough for the win until Victor Ayala hit this 93rd minute equaliser for the 1-1 draw.

Part of the Golazo series.

Golazo: Thiago Ribeiro vs Guaraní, 2011 Copa Libertadores

Cruzeiro got off to a brilliant start to their 2011 Copa Libertadores campaign in Group 7. After hammering Argentine champions Estudiantes de La Plata 5-0 in their first game they beat Paraguayan side Guaraní 4-0 with two goals from Wallyson, one for Ernesto Farías and this lovely long range shot from Thiago Ribeiro.

Part of the Golazo series.

Game of the week: Cerro Porteño 5-2 Colo-Colo

In the first round of games in Group 5 of the 2011 Copa Libertadores Paraguayan side Cerro Porteño put on a magnificent display to crush Colo-Colo of Chile 5-2. One of the highlights of the game was 17 year old Argentine born forward Juan Manuel Iturbe's Copa Libertadores debut as a second half substitute, he lived up to expectation hitting two goals.

The result left 29 time Chilean champions Colo-Colo in serious trouble, not only were they bottom of the Chilean league after their worst ever start to a league season they got their Copa Libertadores campaign off to a terrible start.

Part of the game of the week series.

Emanuel Gigliotti vs Maxi Moralez

Saturday 19 February 2011 will be a date to remember for Argentine minnows All Boys who recorded a famous 1-2 away win against giant neighbours Vélez Sársfield. Sebastián Grazzini scored both of All Boys goals and there were brilliant performances from several other All Boys players like the gigantic forward Cristián Fabianni. Not only did All Boys beat Vélez, they finished the game with only nine players after Carlos Soto and Emanuel Gigliotti were sent off late in the game. Gigliotti's challenge on Maxi Moralez earned him a deserved straight red card.

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

2011 Copa Libertadores

Overview page for the 2011 edition of the Copa Libertadores.

  • Group 1 (Libertad, Once Caldas, San Luis, Universidad San Martín)
  • Group 2 (Grêmio, Junior, León, Oriente Petrolero)
  • Group 3 (Argentinos Juniors, Club América, Fluminense, Nacional)
  • Group 4 (Caracas FC, Unión Española, Universidad Cátolica, Vélez Sársfield)
  • Group 5 (Cerro Porteño, Colo-Colo, Deportivo Táchira, Santos)
  • Group 6 (Emelec, Internacional, Jaguares, Jorge Wilstermann)
  • Group 7 (Cruzeiro, Deportes Tolima, Estudiantes, Guaraní)
  • Group 8 (Godoy Cruz, Independiente, LDU Quito, Peñarol
Knockuot stages

    Golazo: Erik Lamela vs Huracán, Clausura 2011

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    On 20 February 2011 River Plate faced Huracán in the 2nd round of the Clausura 2011 tournament in a game that was a vitally important relegation battle. River were just outside the relegation places and Huracán were four points and one place behind them. A win for Huracán would have closed the gap to just a single point however River Plate won the game with a magnificent second half performance which featured this stunning team goal, finished off by teenage midfield sensation Erik Lamela with a cheeky dink over the goalkeeper.

    This goal was very reminiscent of another brilliant team goal finished off by Lamela scored against Colón in the Apertura 2010 tournament.

    Part of the Golazo series.

    Highlights: Clausura 2011 Argentina - Fecha 2

    Erik Lamela celebrates after finishing off a brilliant team goal
    in River plates first win of the Clausura.
    The first match of the second round featured a hugely significant clash between two of the relegation favourites. Olimpo de Bahía Blanca recorded only their second away win of the entire 2010-11 season with a resounding 1-3 win against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata that allowed them to leapfrog their hosts out of the automatic relegation places. The minnows from the Atlantic coast of Buenos Aires Province will be delighted with maximum points from their opening two games of the Clausura.

    Friday night's other game ended in a 1-1 draw between Banfield and Colón featuring an excellent goal from Achucarro for Banfield and a well worked goal that was finished off by veteran striker Esteban Fuertes for Colón's equaliser.

    Argentinos Juniors and Independiente played out a tepid 0-0 draw which is no real surprise given that both teams see their participation in the Copa Libertadores, the game was a far cry from the epic 4-3 result at the back end of Clausura 2010.

    Claudio Bieler scored his first goal for Newell's Old Boys against Lanús who equalised through Diego Valeri but Juan Cobelli hit a late winner to give the home team their first win of the campaign.

    In the first big clásico of the tournament Racing Club and Boca Juniors continued their four game sequence of away wins against each other thanks to a single goal from Boca Juniors Pablo Mouche. Both teams were without their influential midfield playmakers, Riquelme was missing for Boca Juniors and Racing Club's Colombian midfield maestro is set to miss the rest of the tournament after this incident last week. Both midfields looked short on ideas but Boca had a little more attacting intent.

    The surprise result of the weekend was All Boys 1-2 away win against Vélez Sársfield. Sebastián Grazzini scored both goals for the Buenos Aires minnows while Davíd Ramírez scored his second goal in a week for the hosts, All Boys finished the game with only nine players after having had two sent off in injury time.

    On Sunday the reigning champions Estudiantes de La Plata joined Olimpo at the top of the table with a 0-1 away win against Quilmes, who sit at the bottom of the relegation table. It was a positive result for the La Plata club coming only days after the embarrasment of their 5-0 humping by Cruzeiro in the Copa Libertadores.

    River Plate claimed all three points in their vitally important relegation clash with Huracán after a 2-0 win featuring a magnificent team goal finished off by Erik Lamela and a Pablo Ferrari header from a near perfect cross from Mariano Pavone.

    Arsenal de Sarandí took an important 2-0 win against Tigre, the scorer of their first goal was Lisandro López (no not that Lisandro López) and their second was a long range effort from Jorge Ortiz late in the game. Arsenal are currently in fourth place in the race to qualify for the 2011 Copa Sudamericana, with six qualification places available plus a spot for the holders Independiente.

    In the last game of round two Godoy Cruz continued with their schitzophrenic run of form in the league going down to a 0-2 home defeat against San Lorenzo after last week's spectacular demolition of Boca Juniors at the Bombonera. Ramón Diaz can be rightly proud of his San Lorenzo players but the fact remains that both of their goals came from catastrophic defensive errors from the home team.


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

    Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    1 Olimpo 2 2 0 0 5 2 +3 6
    2 Estudiantes 2 2 0 0 3 1 +2 6
    3 Colón 2 1 1 0 3 1 +2 4
    4 San Lorenzo 2 1 1 0 3 1 +2 4
    5 River Plate 2 1 1 0 2 0 +2 4
    6 Godoy Cruz 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 3
    7 Lanús 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 3
    8 Arsenal 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
    9 Newell's Old Boys 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
    10 All Boys 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
    11 Racing 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 3
    12 Boca Juniors 2 1 0 1 2 4 −2 3
    13 Independiente 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
    14 Argentinos Juniors 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
    15 Vélez Sársfield 2 0 1 1 3 4 −1 1
    16 Banfield 2 0 1 1 2 3 −1 1
    17 Gimnasia (La Plata) 2 0 1 1 2 4 −2 1
    18 Huracán 2 0 1 1 1 3 −2 1
    19 Tigre 2 0 1 1 0 2 −2 1
    20 Quilmes 2 0 0 2 0 3 −3 0

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

    Highlights: 2011 Copa Libertadores, Group 8

     Reports & highlights of Group 8 in the 2011 Copa Libertadores.


    Godoy Cruz (Arg) 2-1 LDU Quito (Ecu)
    Independiente (Arg) 3-0 Peñarol (Uru)
    Godoy Cruz (Arg) 1-3 Peñarol (Uru)
    LDU Quito (Ecu) 3-0 Independiente (Arg)
    Peñarol (Uru) 1-0 LDU Quito (Ecu)
    Independiente (Arg) 1-3 Godoy Cruz (Arg)
    LDU Quito (Ecu) 5-0 Peñarol (Uru)
    Godoy Cruz (Arg) 1-1 Independiente (Arg)
    Peñarol (Uru) 2-1 Godoy Cruz (Arg)
    Independiente (Arg) 1-1 LDU Quito (Ecu)
    Peñarol (Uru) 0-1 Independiente (Arg)
    LDU Quito (Ecu) 2-0 Godoy Cruz (Arg)


    Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
    Ecuador LDU Quito 6 3 1 2 12 4 +8 10
    Uruguay Peñarol 6 3 0 3 6 11 -5 9
    Argentina Independiente 6 2 2 2 7 8 -1 8
    Argentina Godoy Cruz 6 2 1 3 8 10 -2 7

    Match reports

    Round 1

    Argentine side Godoy Cruz recoreded an impressive 2-1 win against the 2008 champions and Recopa Sudamericana holders LDU Quito on their Copa Libertadores debut. Their goals came from Carlos & Nicolás Sánchez either side of a Neicer Reasco strike for the visitors.

    The last two teams to see action in the group stages were two of the most famous names in the history of South American football. Seven time champions Independiente cruized to a 3-0 against Peñarol. The home team is known as the king of cups, a nickname reinforced by their Copa Sudamericana triumph in December. Before this game they had been stuck in a rut of poor form without a win in four games. Peñarol were the perfect opponents in the second half, another team stuck in a bad run of form (one win in six by the final whistle). The Uruguayans were wasteful in posession, easily contained and defensively disorganised. The pick of the action was Cristian Pellerano's long range scorcher that he hammered through a crowded box like a nail.

    Round 2

    Peñarol recovered in time for their second game in which they took a 1-3 away win against Godoy Cruz. The Uruguayans took the lead within a minute but Rúben Ramírez equalised with an unmarked header before the half hour. The visitors then soaked up a lot of pressure and scored twice on the counter attack. They dealt effectively with dozens of balls played into their box and could have had more goals on the counter. The key player in the Peñarol counter attacking play was Argentine number ten Alejandro Martinuccio.

    As expected Liga de Quito continued their devastating home form with a comfortable 3-0 win against Independiente, a result that levels all four teams up on three points after two games, giving some justification for those of us that picked this group out as one of the toughest to call.

    Round 3

     having started out with two away games Uruguayan side Peñarol put in a strong performance in their first home game of the group stages with a 1-0 win against Liga de Quito. 20 year old Urretaviscaya had a cracking game for the hosts showing an electric turn of pace and some good skills too. Luis Aguilar bagged the only goal of the game lashing in a back post volley dirct from a corner.Peñarol climbed to the top of the table however both sides can remain hopeful of progression having two home games remaining each.

    Godoy Cruz recovered from their recent run of poor home results to show that they can still do it on the road inflicting a 1-3 defeat on fellow Argentines Independiente who have now gone sixteen games without a win against Argentine opposition. The home side took the lead through Facundo Parra but Godoy Cruz fought back to claim their first ever away win at the continental level. This result leaves Independiente in all kinds of trouble, they are bottom of the group and two of their three remaining games are away from home.

    Round 4

    Liga de Quito kept up their remarkable run of home form with a 5-0 demolition of Peñarol, Walter Calderón in great form, terrorising the Uruguayan defence and bagging himself two goals. It was LDU's fifteenth game without defeat at their Casa Blanca fortress in all competitions a run extending back to October 2010. The last time they lost a competitive home game against foreign opposition was a 2-3 defeat by Brazilian side Sport Recife back in April 2009, since then they have won twelve consecutive home games in international tournaments (Sudamericana -8, Recopa -2, Libertadores -2). Both sides are still in with a decent chance of qualification, Liga have bolstered their goal difference and Peñarol have the advantage of playing their last two games at home.

    One week later the two Argentine sides lined up for their rematch. Independiente struck an early blow with Matías Defederico scoring a cracking goal in the first minute. Godoy Cruz took around half an hour to recover their composure which is understandable given their unreliable home form.

    "El Tomba" found their equaliser in the 34th minute after man of the match Carlos Sánchez put in a decent cross and Rúben Ramírez was allowed a free header. Independiente goalkeeper Hilario Navarro did not cover himself in glory doing a rubbish superman impression and allowing Ramírez an open goal to aim at. Navarro made up for his error in the second half with a couple of good saves and a much more commanding performance. The 1-1 draw meant that Godoy Cruz climbed to the top of the group but they only have two away games remaining while Independiente have now gone 23 away games without a win and are rooted to the bottom of the group and will be out of the tournament if they don't beat Liga de Quito in their next game.

    Round 5

    Godoy Cruz faced their first two away games on foreign soil  in official competition in their last two group games. After a 2-1 defeat against Peñarol in Uruguay they are in serious danger of missing out on qualification. Unless Independiente beat Liga de Quito next week Godoy Cruz will need a win at the Casa Blanca where Liga have not lost in international competition for twelve games since April 2009.

    Independiente were eliminated after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home against Liga de Quito.Leonel Núñez put the Argentine side ahead from the penalty spot but former Racing Club player Hernán Barcos ensured their elimination with a second half equaliser.

    Round 6

    Independiente were already as good as out before they even kicked off but they can be fairly pleased with a decent 0-1 win against Peñarol in Montevideo. Facundo Parra scored the only goal of the game to give Independiente their first away win in international tournaments since a 0-1 win at Rosario Central in Copa Sudamericana 2003. The game in Montevideo was marred by two sendings off late in the game, Peñarol's Juan Manuel Olivera was sent off for a headbut and Independiente goalkeeper Fabián Assman also saw red for his reaction.

    Godoy Cruz knew that they needed a win at Liga's Casa Blanca fortress but they couldn't muster their first ever competitive away win on foreign soil. Luis Bolaños put the hosts ahead in the 48th minute, Hernán Barcos bagged a second on 59 minutes and within three minutes of that the game was up after Carlos Sánchez got himself sent off. This result ensured that Liga joined Peñarol in the knockout round at the expense of both of the groups Argentine sides.

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