Arsenal 3 Argentinos Juniors 1
There are some games, like some days, where everything goes wrong from the start. You go a goal down after two minutes or you step on the cat getting out of bed, twisting your ankle. You put the ball in your own net while trying to clear and you reverse the car into a lamppost while backing out of the driveway. You give away a penalty just as it looked like JJ Morales’s goal might get you back into the game. And you accidentally send an email, which was intended for one of your colleagues, to your boss explaining what a boludo you think he is. This was simply one of those games, one of those days.
A few days earlier — another day, a better day – I’d pulled on my Argentinos Juniors T-shirt and met Hernan for a pizza and a beer near the venue. We discussed team selection and the remaining fixtures for the season. As we walked up the road we were joined by other Bichos fans, kitted out in red and white woolen hats and scarves, their Argentinos Juniors shirts visible under jackets as the Buenos Aires winter was beginning to bite.
We lined up for our tickets, an audible murmur of anticipation all around us. ‘Two to see the Bichos,’ said Hernan.
‘Three for the Avengers,’ said the chap behind us in the queue. We were at the cinema to see a film called ‘Bichos Criollos’ – a documentary directed by Argentinos Juniors fan, Diego Lombardi. It had been promoted over the loudspeaker system at the previous home game and flyers were handed out to fans outside the ground.
This was a film for a limited audience. It’s not going to be shown at Cannes, that’s for sure. It was 75 well-produced minutes telling the history of the club from its founding in 1904, its relegations and promotions, its championships, the glory years in the mid-nineteen eighties when they won the most sought after trophy in South America, the Libertadores cup and its hopes for the future.
This is the humble club that prides itself on producing some of the best players that Argentina and the world has ever seen. A portly Diego Maradona roamed over the turf that he’d set on fire as a sixteen and seventeen year-old, reminiscing about some of his magical moments. Fernando Redondo sat in the stands reflecting on what the club had given him before he went on to Real Madrid and elsewhere.
Sergio Batista, a 1986 World Cup winner, spoke about the philosophy of a club that had given him so much and continues to give so much to football.
As the credits rolled there was a round of applause. Then we broke out into song…one of the repertoire of Argentinos Junior’s terrace songs. We hadn’t won, we hadn’t scored but then I suppose we hadn’t lost either. Football at the cinema just might catch on.
Perhaps someone should suggest to Martin Scorsese that he buy a season ticket for Upton Park next season to see what he comes up with.
A friendly between Argentina and Brazil played in New Jersey shouldn’t mean anything much. But there’s really not any such thing as a friendly between these two old rivals, especially when both field pretty much full teams.
Buenos Aires is still buzzing over Leo Messi’s performance and his three goals. But could Argentina beat Brazil 4-3 without Messi? Is too much emphasis being put on him and is that necessary when you’ve also got Aguero, Tevez, Di Maria etc. in your squad?
This is not England in which Wayne Rooney is the only sub-30 player with real proven talent.
Chile with a 2-0 away win in Venezuela have taken over top spot in the 2014 World Cup qualifying group. And Uruguay by beating Peru 4-2 have pushed Argentina into third place.
Boca Juniors meanwhile continue their grind to the championship. But they ain’t making it easy for themselves. They were lucky to draw 1-1 against bottom club Banfield. Newell’s rediscovered their winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Independiente.
Arsenal’s thumping of Argentinos Juniors leaves them just a point behind the leaders, Boca, with two games to play. They’re level with Tigre who beat struggling San Lorenzo 3-1. In case you’re confused, it’s Boca top with 33 points, Tigre and Arsenal breathing down their necks with 32 and Newell’s on 31. It’s tight at the top.
Velez beat Atletico de Rafaela 2-1 and Union and San Martin ground out a goalless draw. All Boys beat Estudiantes 3-1,Godoy Cruz won 2-1 against Belgrano and Olimpo and Lanus drew 2-2.