Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Point Gained, Or Two Lost?

Game 9 of the Clausura had Newell's playing away to Tigre, a team that was involved in the playoff at the end of the Apertura along with Boca Jrs and San Lorenzo. This, in theory, would make them a dangerous opponent... but that must be tempered by the fact that over the course of the first 8 games they had only gained 9 points, one fewer than Newell's.

The first 5 minutes of the match was fairly even, with neither team doing much to impress. Problem was that those 5 minutes were capped by Carlos "Chino" Luna scoring when a free kick turned pinball landed in front of him, at which point he made no mistake burying the ball into the back of the net.

After that, the game was all Newell's, and, if not for poor last touches, the game could well have been won by the team from Rosario. There were so many near misses that it was almost comical... but that didn't help me wondering why, after each near goal, Sensini seemed to be smiling on the sidelines. Certainly it wasn't that funny.

In the 74th minute Damián Leyes of Tigre was sent off. Truthfully, I must have blinked, because I missed it. Newell's continued to press for an equalizer. Finally, Formica broke into the area on the left and sent a beautiful short cross which Armani found to his liking, heading in to the goal and level the score.

In the 90th referee Jorge Baliño called Schiavi for a Leonel Altobelli inside Newell's area for a penalty. It was a debatable call, and Newell's players made their objections known, trying to convince Baliño to reverse his decision, to no avail. Matías Giménez, however, hit the crossbar from the ensuing penalty.

Newell's out shot Tigre 14-3, or 5-1 on target. A few of those missed shots for Newell's were closer to being goals than those that were on. So in the end, both teams really escaped with a point intact. But the biggest sigh of relief goes to La Lepra. Penalties are supposed to be near sure things, after all.

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