Colombians win competition against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.


What makes the two young Rosario Central players Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso the players they are?


An interview with Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori ahead of Sunday's Clásico.


Taking a look at the next great Argentinian #5, the next Javier Mascherano.


Colombians win the Copa Sudamericana after penalty thriller against Huracán.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

South America's Top Clubs - January 2016

In the first edition of 2016, there are not too many changes in the TOP club ranking. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the leagues were on their Winter break already and had their respective seasons finished.
Huracán, the leader of December 2015, remains on top for the second month in a row as well, followed by their Argentinian rivals Independiente. Surprisingly high in third and fifth: Venezuelan champion Zamora and Deportivo La Guaira, their opponent in the final.

 Still on top: Huracán (photo from

The rules if you missed them previously:
For this table, we look at the last 15 results from each team in South America’s leagues and Copa Libertadores/Sudamericana. A win in the league gets you 3 points, a draw 1. Internationally those numbers are doubled to 6 and 2.

1 1 Huracán Argentina 40
2 4 Independiente Argentina 38
3 3 Zamora FC Venezuela 36
4 2 Colo Colo Chile 36
5 5 Deportivo La Guaira Venezuela 35
6 11 Boca Juniors Argentina 33
7 10 Libertad Paraguay 33
8 14 Atlético Nacional Colombia 32
9 16 Banfield Argentina 31
10 - CA Lanús Argentina 31
11 - CS Emelec Ecuador 31
12 17 Rosario Central Argentina 31
13 12 Olimpia Paraguay 31
14 - Peñarol Uruguay 31
15 8 Club Bolívar Bolivia 31
16 18 Corinthians Brazil 31
17 - Palestino Chile 30
18 - Melgar Peru 30
19 9 Once Caldas Colombia 30
20 - Estudiantes Argentina 30

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Copa Libertadores - Group Stage Draw

Not only the first round of the Copa Libertadores was drawn yesterday, we also get an idea of who plays who in the group stage. There are quite some great groups to look forward to. 

(photo from

Group 1 contains the title holders: Argentina's River Plate want to defend their title and start that mission against The Strongest, Trujillanos and the winner of Universidad César Vallejo vs São Paulo. It should make for a good group as at least three clubs are going to have a realistic chance to advance (sorry, Trujillanos). São Paulo will get by the first round and compete for the round of 16 along with the Argentines and Bolivians.

This leads us to Group 2, which looks like a really strong one on paper. Uruguay's champion Nacional are meeting Brazil's cup winner Palmeiras and Argentina's Rosario Central. The group is filled up by the winner of River Plate (URU) vs Universidad de Chile. Assuming U de Chile makes it through their qualification round, all four teams look strong enough to advance to the round of 16. They're all big teams in their respective countries and you cannot ask for much more atmospherically either. 

Group 3 is likely going to have a massive Argentinian clash. Boca Juniors are seeded and expect Racing Club to join them after the first stage. Bolívar and Deportivo Cali are going to be the outsiders and would heavily surprise should they advance. 

The other big Uruguayan club, Peñarol, were drawn into Group 4. Colombia's Atlético Nacional, Peru's Sporting Cristal and the winner of Huracán vs Caracas pose the threats to advancing. This could be another relatively even group, in which you cannot write off anyone, even though Peruvian clubs never get much done on the international stage. 

Group 5 contains Atlético Mineiro, Colo-Colo, Melgar and the winner of Independiente del Valle vs Guaraní. The two first named teams should be the clear-cut favourites, even if Guaraní went very far last season. Melgar will be happy to collect a point every here and there and has no realistic chance against some of South America's heavyweights. 

Another good one is Group 6. The 2014 Libertadores champion San Lorenzo that got eliminated early last season is meeting Grêmio, LDU Quito and Toluca. In order to advance, the Argentines have to be more stable or else they could find their dreams ended early yet again. Grêmio looks like the favourite along with San Lorenzo though.

Olimpia, Emelec, Deportivo Táchira and Mexican side Pumas UNAM are facing off in Group 7. All three first named teams have recently been crowned champions of their respective countries and look to excite their fans along with Mexico's club that is known around the world. Take a look at this group if you can!

Last but not least, Group 8. Brazilian champion Corinthians meets Cerro Porteño, Cobresal and the winner of Oriente Petrolero vs Santa Fe. Since Copa Sudamericana winner Santa Fe is clearly the better team and expected to go through, the group should be a nice one. For me personally, they will be favourites to go through with Corinthians but you really cannot count out the other two either. 

Whatever happens, it will be good to finally have the Copa Libertadores back again in early 2016.

Copa Libertadores 2016 Draw – First Round

Last night, the draw for the upcoming 2016 Copa Libertadores edition was being held in Asunción. Due to the large amount of good teams, quite a few competitive groups that should be fun to follow were the result.

(picture from

Let’s get started with the first stage of the tournament though, the six two-legged elimination games for the last spots in the group stage

Oriente Petrolero are hosting the recent Copa Sudamericana winners from Santa Fe. The Bolivians, who finished as third best team back home, should not have too much of a chance, but then again it’s South American football we are talking about. 

The runners-up Huracán from Argentina are facing Venezuelan club Caracas. While I would personally give Huracán who had to get through the same qualifying round last season the advantage, it should be a pretty evenly contested duel. 

Mexican Supercopa MX winners Puebla enter the competition with a matchup against Argentina’s Racing Club. With all due respect to the Mexicans, anything but exiting the Libertadores early would be a surprise to me. Higuain, Bou and Co. are the huge favourites. 

Uruguay’s River Plate will be outsiders against one of Chile’s big sides, Universidad de Chile

Guaraní, last year’s surprising semifinalist, return to the Copa Libertadores in the premier round and battle Independiente del Valle from Ecuador. Maybe the Paraguayans can get through again, but it is by no means a cakewalk.

Finally, Peru’s Universidad César Vallejo face Brazil’s São Paulo. There is only one team that will go through here and it won’t be the Peruvians.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Penalty thriller - Santa Fe win Copa Sudamericana

Santa Fe have reached their goal: After two goalless draws against Huracán, the Colombians have won the Copa Sudamericana in a penalty shootout, 3-1, at home.


Champions: Santa Fe celebrate their first Copa Sudamericana title.

The game itself was not the greatest, as it often is in the finals of big competitions. In the first half, Huracán did surprisingly well and had the biggest early chance. In the first minute, striker Rámon Abila might want to have  one back. Home goalkeeper Robinson Zapata made a mess of a back pass and did not get rid of the ball in time. It was deflected towards the goal by Abila, the Argentine went after the ball just to put it wide again across the face of the goal.

Apart from that mishap, Santa Fe controlled the early goings without showing too much offensively. While both teams’ midfielders had tons of time for their passes, they still were not accurate enough and did not exactly offer the fans any spectacle.

The best chance for the Colombians came in the 42nd minute, when Daniel Angulo headed a Seijas corner towards the goal, but into the catching arms of Marcos Díaz. The Argentinian guests defended so well that it remained the only chance of Santa Fe before halftime.

Luis Seijas did not like that very much and thought “let’s get to them earlier now” at the start of the second half. His dropkick was saved with some extra work by Díaz. Four minutes later, Juan Daniel Roa had the next chance for the hosts, but was kept from shooting in the last second.

As time went on, the match got worse and worse. No teams was willing to make any decisive mistakes and therefore a nervous midfield battle was the logical consequence.

The Colombians were the only team with further chances, substitute Omar Pérez clearly helped out his colleagues with his technical class. He was unlucky that Wilson Morelo was offside after his excellent through ball. Since noone showed any more quality moments, the game went to extra-time.

That extra time was highly eventless. Well, apart from an extremely stupid red card from Rámon Abila. Inexplicably, he completely lost his cool and punched the opposing player in the stomach from behind. A heavy loss for the guests for the upcoming penalty shootout.

It was a one-sided affair and left Santa Fe in a euphoric state. Huracán missed three out of four penalties, through Bogado, Nervo and Toranzo. Only Federico Mancinelli was successful with his attempt. Since Omar Pérez, Luis Seijas and Leyvin Balanta were all scoring, the title of the Copa Sudamericana goes to Santa Fe and to Colombia for the first time in history.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

South America’s Top Clubs – December 2015

We have reached the last edition of the year 2015. By reaching the final in the Copa Sudamericana, Argentinian club Hurácan have gone top of this ranking. They move up from third position. The previous winner Libertad meanwhile drop a bit due to a loss of points in the league.

In general, there are a total of 8 clubs in the list that have not been around in the previous month.


The new number one: Huracán. (photo from

The rules if you missed them previously:

For this table, we look at the last 15 results from each team in South America’s leagues and Copa Libertadores/Sudamericana. A win in the league gets you 3 points, a draw 1. Internationally those numbers are doubled to 6 and 2.







1 3 Huracán Argentina 40
2 16 Colo Colo Chile 36
3 - Zamora FC Venezuela 36
4 7 Independiente Argentina 36
5 10 Deportivo La Guaira Venezuela 35
6 2 LDU Quito Ecuador 35
7 14 Universidad Católica Chile 34
8 - Club Bolivár Bolivia 34
9 - Once Caldas Colombia 33
10 1 Libertad Paraguay 33
11 15 Boca Juniors Argentina 33
12 4 Olimpia Paraguay 33
13 - Guaraní Paraguay 32
14 11 Atlético Nacional Colombia 32
15 18 Santa Fe Colombia 32
16 - Banfield Argentina 31
17 - Rosario Central Argentina 31
18 9 Corinthians Brazil 31
19 - Racing Club Argentina 30
20 - Cruzeiro Brazil 30

Friday, November 27, 2015

River’s title defense fails – Huracán in Copa Sudamericana final!

For the first time in club history, Huracán have reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana. A 2-2 draw was enough to eliminate local rival and defending champions River Plate 3-2 on aggregate.


Patricio Toranzo celebrates his early goal against River. (photo from

Key to their success were long balls that showed the visitor’s defensive vulnerability. On the first goal from Patricio Toranzo after only 3 minutes, a long clearance became a thorn in the eye of River and goalkeeper Barovero. He was impeded by striker Abila, could not reach the ball cleanly and put it right in front of Toranzo’s foot, who then slotted it into the basically empty net.

The second goal after 26 minutes was initiated by a neat through-ball into the run of striker star Ramón Abila. The Argentine lobbed it over Barovero, who was late to get to the ball. Another empty net, another goal. 2-0 for Huracán was also the halftime score.

One of the main reasons that had River nearly come back and turn the game around was one man: Rodrigo Mora. The striker fired home a fantastic attempt into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area. No chance whatsoever for Marcos Díaz. After 69 minutes, the guests suddenly had hope again, fueled by their past successes and knowledge that they could turn any game around if needed.

The defending champions now threw everything forward and were rewarded for a second time in the 82nd minute, when Mora was wide open and finished composedly again.

At the end of the day, it was not meant to be. Mora’s striking partner Alario had a few other chances that he could have buried, but did not. While River was more precise in the passing game and had a little more of the ball, the shots ended up being contested pretty evenly. Especially after the first leg, you cannot say it was an undeserved way to advance for Huracán.

The club from Buenos Aires will face Colombia’s Santa Fe in the two-legged final.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Final! Santa Fe advances with two draws

The first team in the 2015 Copa Sudamericana final is known since the past night. Santa Fe’s 0-0 home draw was enough to get by Sportivo Luqueño with an aggregate score of 1-1. Away goal to the rescue.


Midfield battle between Santa Fe and Sportivo Luqueño. (EFE)

Sadly, the game could never really live up to expectations which were also fueled by the fantastic welcoming of the Colombian crowd. At the end of the night there were only 10 shots fired towards the goal, by both teams mind you.

Santa Fe remained the clearly superior team in the process and had most of the quality chances, especially through their striker and the competition’s top scorer Wilson Morelo. The Paraguayans did not manage a single shot on target, yet should have scored a tap-in. After a low cross from the right from Guido di Vianni, Marcelo Báez was wide open at the far post and managed to deflect the ball onto his own other leg and wide from there.

When Santa Fe had the ball in the net during the second half through a freekick from Omar Pérez, the goal was correctly not given by the referee, as a whole collection of home players were offside and deflected the ball past goalkeeper Arnaldo Giménez.

Through both games, there is not much doubt that Santa Fe is the deserved winner. They now await their final opponent from the matchup between Huracán and defending champions River Plate (1-0 after the first leg). That game is taking place tonight at 12:45am CET.

Here are the match highlights:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Exciting News – Football Roundup South America


Peñarol’s new stadium is coming along nicely. The Uruguayan 5-time Copa Libertadores winner continues to build on a new arena, that was originally supposed to be done by June this year. So far, the building time comprises 21 months. Since the club was trying to build a new own home for over 80 years now, some more months most likely won’t hurt anybody.

The capacity of the stadium lies at 40.005, which is quite small considering there’s nearly twice as much members in the club. Peñarol gave supporters the option to buy lifetime tickets. The premium boxes were already sold out a year ago.

After the season finale in Argentina, we’re not done just yet, but let’s get through the basics first. New champion and cup winner are the Boca Juniors, you surely heard about that by now. San Lorenzo as second, Rosario Central as Copa Argentina finalist and River Plate (defending champions) as well as Huracán (best team in Copa Sudamericana not yet qualified) all made it into next year’s Copa Libertadores.

The sixth and final participant will be determined by the so-called Liguilla pre-Libertadores. The four best and not yet qualified teams from the Argentinian league face off in a little “tournament”. The semifinals Racing Club – Estudiantes and Independiente – Belgrano will be one-legged, while the winners will face each other home and away in the final.

The dates are November 19 and 20 for the semifinals and November 29 as well as December 5 for the final.

A similar tournament is being played for Copa Sudamericana access, with 12 clubs.

The international break, quite obviously, is on everyone’s minds right now. South America’s World Cup qualification continues and with Ecuador – Uruguay, the prime matchup is quickly found. Both teams have been perfect so far, winning each of their first two contests. The visiting two-time World Cup winner gets Edinson Cavani back after his ridiculous suspension dating back to the Copa América match against Gonzalo Jara and Chile. Luis Suárez is still out thanks to his lengthy suspension from the World Cup.

Centerback Gímenez stayed in Madrid with his home club Atlético due to injury as well, ripping open a whole in the successful pairing with his club colleague Godín.

Argentina is under tremendous and unexpected early pressure after failing to score a single goal in their first two qualifiers, leaving them with one point. Now Brazil is visiting Buenos Aires, featuring a huge boost as they have in-form captain Neymar return to the national team after his own Copa América suspension. In his last three games for Barcelona, he scored 5 goals and you have to wonder how Messi-less Argentina wants to stop him and the incredible Douglas Costa, who has been turning heads in Germany ever since his arrival at Bayern Munich.

Argentina’s problems don’t exactly dwindle down, as they also miss Tévez and Agüero. They visit Colombia on Tuesday to play a team that welcomes back James Rodriguez after a lengthy absence.

Here are the matchups of week 3:

Bolivia – Venezuela  (Nov. 12, 9pm CET)

Ecuador – Uruguay  (Nov. 12, 10pm CET)

Chile – Colombia  (Nov. 13, 12:30am CET)

Argentina – Brazil  (Nov. 13, 1am CET)

Peru – Paraguay  (Nov. 14, 3:15am CET)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Points Are Shared in Clásico Uruguayo

What better place in the world to watch a game of football than a packed Centenario? In the stadium of Uruguay’s 1930 World Cup triumph, it was between old foes Nacional and Peñarol to write a new chapter in their respective histories.


Perfect setting for an entertaining Clásico. (Javier Calvelo / adhoc fotos)

Under the eyes of Uruguay’s last Copa América winners team captain Diego Lugano (now Cerro Porteño/ Paraguay), Nacional took control of the game early and had the first few half chances.

Abero’s shot in the first minute went over the crossbar and after Romero’s excellent ball-winning tackle on MacEachen, Alonso just missed his cross on the far post. Only eight minutes in, the game should have been over for Peñarol’s superstar Diego Forlán. He attacked Porras with an outstretched leg in midfield, caught his opponent and was extremely lucky to only see a yellow card from the otherwise good referee Andrés Cunha.

Possession-wise and in tackles, Nacional continued to be the better team and after more shots from distance from Abero, we were already halfway through the first half. Now the real action started though.

Peñarol’s first chance of the game, 28 minutes in, was the best one so far. Forlán played a beautiful through ball to his striking partner Ifrán, but Conde stoned him 1 on 1. It was the best phase for the “visitors” in the first half, as they continued to have chances through a Forlán header and a shot from Nández. The hosts did not want any of that and picked themselves back up going forward. Leftback Espino nearly went through on a counter, but was stopped by Nández who got back quickly.

Not long after and Forlán was through for the second 1 on 1 of the day against Nacional’s goalkeeper Conde, yet again the winner was the home team’s #1. Just as everyone thought, we’d go to halftime tied at zero, Seba Fernández had a better idea and burned Peñarol’s defense with a strong run down the left flank and found Santiago Romero in the middle. And the rest was just beautiful: The midfielder hit his spot and found the back of the net in the right top corner. 1-0 Nacional!

Right after it could have been two, but in added time of the first half, Iván Alonso hit the post with a header from a freekick. Halftime and Nacional were up deservingly, but had to deal with two huge chances against.


Santiago Romero celebrating his 1-0 goal. (Tenfield)

The second half could sadly not live up to the expectations after an exciting first 45. The beginning parts were again controlled by record champions Nacional, who had opportunities through Alonso and Seba Fernández. In the 64th minute, Abero yet again was wide open in the middle and couldn’t direct his shot on goal after Alonso assisted him.

Finally, Peñarol reentered the second half as well offensively. First Espino challenged a low cross nicely to prevent a scoring chance, and just after Conde came up big again, making a nice positional save on Ifrán. The goal was somewhat coming and when it did it didn’t really surprise anyone anymore. Rightback Aguirregaray reached the end of a long Nández freekick in the 79th minute and scored the equalizer. He was lucky that Romero deflected the ball backwards right into his path. 1-1 Peñarol.


All tied up: Goalscorer of the equalizer, Matias Aguirregaray. (Tenfield)

While both teams continued to fight for every centimeter of the pitch, no more particular good chances came around with that approach. The final score lets Peñarol defend the top spot in Uruguay’s Aperture table, 2 points ahead of Nacional.

When looking at the game as a whole, the 1-1 doesn’t really do it justice. Nacional were the better team and showed it, especially in the first half. Still, they were also lucky due to the better chances on their rival’s side. A weird match.

Man of the match: Esteban Conde. Saved his team with three fantastic saves throughout the game.  


Esteban Conde. (Tenfield)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Clásico Uruguayo – Interview with Nicolás Difiori

Special games deserve special build-ups. Ahead of Saturday’s Clásico between Nacional and Peñarol, I had the chance to interview Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori. Here is what he had to say about the game itself, special traditions and some of the star players.

Make sure that you go follow him on twitter @nicolasdifiori.

ATENCIÓN: Para leer este artículo en español, haga clic aquí: Entrevista en español.

Germancopa: Hola, Nicolás! It’s the week of the Clásico, it will be Nacional vs Peñarol on Sunday. What makes the Uruguayan Clásico so interesting for people in Uruguay and you personally?

ND: Football is deeply rooted in our culture, in our population. In Uruguay it is said that there are “3 million grassroots managers”, meaning that everyone knows and talks about football. Peñarol and Nacional, besides competing for the Clásico which is full of glory, have won a combined 8 Libertadores, 6 Intercontinental championships and 90 domestic championships. The match creates an anticipation that goes beyond people’s colors, everything is on hold, it’s "paralyzing the country."
It is a rivalry that has been extended throughout the twentieth century and so far this century, in an endless race to be the "greatest".
Personally I live with great anxiety; it’s an event where you understand from your childhood onwards what it means and which is celebrated as a true party. Nowadays, seen from a journalist’s perspective, one just hopes for a non-violent climate, which sometimes just hasn’t happened, and for people to enjoy the occasion irrespective of the result.

Germancopa: How do people spend their time on Clásico day? Are there any special rituals in families?

ND: The atmosphere is one of maximum tension and nervousness; it’s the game that nobody wants to lose. Not only on Clásico day itself, but all throughout the previous week, discussions and forecasts are the order of the day. And of course in the subsequent week where winners and losers are getting involved into new discussions and get on the opposing fans.
As for rituals, there is everything. Many watch the game eating a "asadito" which is typical of our country, or going to the "nightclub in the corner" to watch it there while eating a pizza with beer. Others have early lunch and go to the stadium several hours before to kill the anxiety.
Lastly, Uruguayans are very superstitious. They wear the shirt of THAT special year or championship or player, put on their hats and shirt to watch the game on TV, there are stamps, large flags on the balcony and so on.


Alvaro Recoba scores from a direct freekick in the 94th minute to beat Peñarol. (

Germancopa: What’s your favorite memory of matches between the two in the past?

ND: There are a lot of Clásico memories, good and bad ones. Peñarol’s 5-0 was a resonant and unusual triumph, just like a 4-3 win for Peñarol after trailing 3-0. Or the 2-1 win for Nacional with 2 goals from Luis Romero, a player who had previously shone for Peñarol, Nacional’s 2-1 last year with a memorable freekick from "Chino" Recoba in the 94th minute, to name a few.

Also one Clásico that cannot be described as "favorite", but is indelible: The game ended in a huge battle on the pitch, after which multiple players ended up in prison for several days, which is sad but typical for this rivalry.

Germancopa: Iván Alonso is competing at the top of the goalscoring race yet again this year. What are your thoughts on him? The man is 36 already!

ND: Iván Alonso is a top class player. He is a born goalscorer and key player in the Nacional scheme, many consider him the best player of our time.
Alonso has a respectable track record in international football -Alavés, Murcia, Espanyol, Toluca- which has enabled him to come to Nacional matured and experienced enough to be the leader and heart and soul of his team. All this is topped off by a remarkable physical condition for his age.


Diego Forlán. (

Germancopa: Diego Forlán’s return to Peñarol during the summer received a lot of attention. Only three goals, but quite a few assists already, just the other week an outstanding one against Liverpool. What do you make of him so far, has he met the expectations?

ND: Forlán came home to be a champion and doesn’t need not be presented, because he has won titles and scored goals all over the world.
He became the engine, the soul of Peñarol. The "problem", in my opinion, is that Diego needs to adapt to our league; it is worth remembering that Forlán did not debut in the top division in our country, and needs to learn to play the much more physical and frankly worse game than usual. Once he interprets our game the way he needs to - he is already succeeding - and continues with his "exquisite" way of playing, I have no doubt he will be by far the most dominating player in Uruguay and this will result in success for Peñarol.

Germancopa: It’s a head-to-head race for the Apertura title again this season. This game will obviously mean a lot in that battle, as there are only 3 more games left after this. The recent form speaks for Peñarol but who will win the title?

ND: In the title race the Clásico can be decisive, but analyzing the games that lie ahead for both of them, I think that Peñarol has a bit more manageable opponents than their traditional adversary. Wanderers, Plaza Colonia and Juventud are in the way of the “Manya”, while the “Tricolor” faces Danubio, Rentistas and Liverpool.
Aside from those rivals, I see Peñarol as the more solid ones, with Forlán improving and a team that does not play so well but is winning games based on high efficiency.
Nacional has declined significantly in their game, which in principle was neat and rapid at the beginning of the championship and has become predictable with a lot of defensive problems today.
In any case, I think the champion will be known in the last matchweek.

Germancopa: Okay, last question, what’s your prediction for Sunday?

ND: Since it’s a Clásico, it is almost impossible to predict the match, because it is played noticeably different than the rest: More intensity, "claws" and a lot of hard fought duels. In the current context I’d give a very slight edge to Peñarol because of the aforementioned, they seem a little more solid in their game than National and have a better atmosphere, which is always a key factor in these types of games.

Clásico Uruguayo – Entrevista con Nicolás Difiori

Un juego especial merece una edición especial. Previo al clásico que se celebrará el próximo sábado entre Nacional y Peñarol, tuve la oportunidad de entrevistar al periodista deportivo uruguayo Nicolás Difiori. A continuación encontrarán algunas de sus opiniones sobre: el partido, las tradiciones especiales de los fanáticos, los jugadores destacados y más.

Síganlo en Twitter @nicolasdifiori.

ATTENTION: To read this interview in English, click HERE.

Germancopa: ¿Qué es lo que hace al Clásico Uruguayo tan especial para los uruguayos y para usted en particular?

ND: El fútbol está muy arraigado en nuestra cultura, en nuestra población, en Uruguay se dice a nivel popular que existen "3 millones de técnicos" en el entendido que todos saben y hablan de fútbol. El clásico Nacional-Peñarol, además de ser un partido cargado de gloria -han ganado entre ambos 8 Libertadores, 6 Intercontinentales y poseen 90 campeonatos locales- este encuentro genera expectativa en la gente mas allá de los colores, es decir todos están pendientes del mismo, se "paraliza el país".

Se trata de una rivalidad que se ha extendido ha lo largo del siglo XX y lo que va del XXI, en una carrera interminable por ser el "mas grande".

En lo personal lo vivo con gran ansiedad, es un evento que desde pequeño uno entiende lo que significa y que se vive como una verdadera fiesta, hoy visto desde la labor del periodista, uno espera que se desarrolle en un clima de no violencia -en ocasiones no ha sido así- y que mas allá del resultado la gente lo viva con alegría.

Germancopa: ¿Cuál es el ambiente de las personas el día en que se realiza el clásico? ¿Tienen alguna costumbre las familias uruguayas?

ND: El ambiente es de máxima tensión, de nerviosismo, es el partido que nadie quiere perder. No solo el día del clásico, sino toda la semana previa, donde las discusiones y los pronósticos están a la orden del día. Y la semana posterior donde vencedores y vencidos se enroscan en nuevas discusiones y sobre todo en "gastadas" al rival.

En cuanto a costumbres, hay de todo. Muchos ven el partido comiendo un "asadito", tan típico de nuestro país, o yendo al "boliche de la esquina" a verlo allí mientras se come una pizza con cerveza. Otros almuerzan temprano y se van varias horas antes al estadio para matar la ansiedad.

Por ultimo, las cabalas, el uruguayo es muy "cabulero", la camiseta de "aquel" año o campeonato o jugador, el gorrito gastado, ponerse la camiseta para verlo por TV, las estampillas, la bandera en el balcón y un largo etcétera.


Chino Recoba con un tiro libre en el minuto 94. (

Germancopa: ¿Cuál es su recuerdo favorito de los clásicos anteriores?

ND: Recuerdos de clásicos muchísimos, de los buenos y de los malos. La goleada 5-0 de Peñarol por lo resonante e inusual de aquel triunfo, un 4-3 también de Peñarol en los 90 luego de ir perdiendo 3-0, un 2-1 de Nacional de atrás con 2 goles de Luis Romero jugador que había brillado anteriormente en Peñarol, el 2-1 de Nacional el año pasado con un tiro libre inolvidable de "Chino" Recoba en el minuto 94, por citar solo algunos. También hechos que no puedo calificar de "favoritos" pero si de imborrables, como un clásico que terminó en una descomunal batalla campal, luego de la cual, varios jugadores terminaron encarcelados por varios días, tan triste como propio de esta rivalidad.

Germancopa: Iván Alonso compite entre los máximos goleadores del torneo otra vez este año. ¿Qué opina de él? ¡Parece que su edad no ha sido un factor determinante, ya tiene 36!

ND: Iván Alonso es un jugador clase "A". Es un goleador nato y pieza clave en el esquema de Nacional, muchos lo consideran el mejor jugador de nuestro medio. 

Alonso tiene una respetable trayectoria en el fútbol internacional -Alavés, Murcia, Espanyol, Toluca- que le ha permitido llegar a Nacional maduro y con suficiente experiencia para ser líder futbolístico y anímico del equipo. Todo esto coronado por un estado físico admirable para la edad que tiene.


Diego Forlán. (

Germancopa: El regreso de Diego Forlán recibió mucha atención durante el verano. Solo anotó tres goles y tiene algunas asistencias. Sin embargo recientemente tuvo un desempeño increíble contra Liverpool. ¿Cómo lo categoriza hasta ahora ? ¿Cree usted que ha cumplido las expectativas?

ND: Forlán vino a ser campeón, el no necesita ser presentado, títulos y goles por todo el mundo. 

Vino a ser el motor, el alma de Peñarol. El "problema" a mi entender, es que Diego necesita adaptarse a nuestro medio, vale recordar que Forlán no debutó en primera división en nuestro país, aprender a jugar en un fútbol mucho más físico y francamente peor jugado a lo que acostumbra. Una vez que interprete nuestro juego -ya lo está logrando- y lo interpreten a el en su "exquisita" manera de jugar, no tengo duda que será por lejos el jugador mas desequilibrante del Uruguay y esto redundará en satisfacciones deportivas para Peñarol.

Germancopa: Es una competencia cerrada para ganar el título de Apertura esta temporada. Este juego obviamente significa mucho en esa guerra por el título, pues como sabemos ya solo quedan 3 juegos por batallar. Los hechos hablan en favor de Peñarol pero en su opinión ¿quién ganará el título?

ND: En la carrera por el título el clásico puede ser determinante, pero analizando los partidos que les queda por delante a ambos, creo que a priori, Peñarol tiene rivales un poco mas accesibles que su tradicional adversario. Wanderers, Plaza y Juventud en el camino de el Manya; Danubio, Rentistas y Liverpool serán rivales del tricolor. 

Al margen de quienes sean los rivales, veo mas sólido a Peñarol, con un Forlán que crece y con un equipo que no juega tan bien pero que gana los partidos en base a una gran efectividad y empuje.

Nacional ha decaído sensiblemente en su juego, el cual a principio de campeonato era prolijo y vertiginoso y hoy se ha vuelto predecible, además de padecer severos problemas defensivos.

En todo caso creo que el campeón se sabrá en la ultima fecha.

Germancopa: ¿Cuál es su predicción para el domingo?

ND: Como todo clásico es un partido casi imposible de pronosticar, pues se juega notoriamente diferente al resto, mas intensidad, "garra" y lucha que juego; En ese contexto doy un muy leve favoritismo a Peñarol por lo antes mencionado, hoy me parece un poco mas sólido en el juego que Nacional y con un mejor estado anímico, factor que siempre es clave en este tipo de partidos.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Clásico Looming - Bring on Nacional vs Peñarol

It's not long anymore until the highlight of every Uruguayan football season: Next weekend (Saturday, 9pm CET), the Clásico between Nacional and Peñarol will be played. The form going into the game could not be much more different. Record champion Nacional lost at home to Sud América and followed it up with a draw against Racing at the Centenario.


(photo from

Their archrivals are on a four game winning streak after beating Danubio, Rentistas, Liverpool and Villa Teresa. This recent run of success paired with Nacional dropping points has led to Peñarol leading the league table for the first time this season, which is a nice boost of confidence going into the big game. It is the most amount of wins in a row the team has gotten so far under coach Pablo Bengoechea.

Superstar Diego Forlán only recently said after the 3-1 win over Liverpool that Peñarol still "must continue to improve." They sure did and came back with an even higher win, a 4-1 over Villa Teresa, which saw three strikers score: Palacios, Ifrán and Forlán himself.

Talking of strikers: Nacional got the right punch up front so far this season, even though it only counted for one point in the last two outings. Iván Alonso with 8 and Sebastián Fernández with 6 goals are among the top goalscorers of this Apertura season. 36 year old Alonso has been an absolute goal machine throughout his time in Uruguay anyway. In 69 games, he found the back of the net 51 times. Again on Saturday?

Blue, white and red or yellow and black? Keep close to the blog as I will cover the match in detail throughout the week.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

South America’s Top Clubs – November 2015

New month, new Paraguayan team on top? The best team in the last 15 games was Libertad!

Despite crashing out of the Copa Sudamericana, they take over from rivals Olimpia who led the table last month. Olimpia themselves fall to fourth after a still strong month. The biggest jump comes from Huracán who enter the list in third thanks to their international successes.


(photo: José Bogado- Última Hora)

The rules if you missed them previously:

For this table, we look at the last 15 results from each team in South America’s leagues and Copa Libertadores/Sudamericana. A win in the league gets you 3 points, a draw 1. Internationally those numbers are doubled to 6 and 2.






1 4 Libertad Paraguay 42
2 3 LDU Quito Ecuador 41
3 - Huracán Argentina 39
4 1 Olimpia Paraguay 39
5 7 CS Emelec Ecuador 38
6 18 Sporting Cristal Peru 37
7 2 Independiente Argentina 37
8 11 Club Nacional Uruguay 37
9 14 Corinthians Brazil 36
10 10 Deportivo La Guaira Venezuela 36
11 - Atlético Nacional Colombia 35
12 16 Melgar Peru 35
13 - Sport Boys Warnes Bolivia 35
14 17 Universidad Católica Chile 35
15 19 Boca Juniors Argentina 33
16 8 Colo Colo Chile 33
17 15 Cerro Porteño Paraguay 32
18 - Santa Fe Colombia 31
19 13 Atlético Junior Colombia 31
20 - Peñarol Uruguay 30

Friday, October 30, 2015

Copa Sudamericana – Semifinals Complete

The semifinals of the 2015 edition of the Copa Sudamericana are complete. After the Argentinian clubs Huracán and River Plate, as well as Paraguay’s Sportivo Luqueño, Santa Fe from Colombia reached the round of the last four the past night.


To the semis they go: Santa Fe have reached the round of the last 4 by beating Independiente (CONMEBOL).

In doing so, Santa Fe prevented the total Argentinian dominance that many feared ahead of the second legs by beating Copa Libertadores record champions Independiente 2-1 on aggregate. The Colombians profited especially from a strong first half, which saw them with most of the possession and chances. Defender Francisco Meza gave the hosts the lead in the 31st minute after heading a corner that was in the air for quite some time into the bottom left corner.

Independiente never got any clear cut scoring chances, even in the second half, while Santa Fe should have built further to their lead. In the 93rd minute, the surprising equalizer came via own goal from goalkeeper Robinson Zapata after a shot was deflected to the post and from there up into his face and into the net.

It was a goal that came a little too late as time was up right after. Here are the match highlights:

Notes from around the Copa Sudamericana:

Through their win last night, Santa Fe continue their impressive run. LDU Loja, Nacional, Emelec and now Independiente have been their victims thus far. Next opponent? Sportivo Luqueño, who have reached the semis through a 2-0 home win against Atlético Paranaense, erasing the 0-1 deficit from the first leg.

Wilson Morelo (Santa Fe) continues to lead the goalscoring race along with Bolaños and Núñez, but is the only player of those three left in the competition.

The other semifinal will be an all-Argetinian affair, because the Copa Sudamericana rules state that if two clubs from the same association are left, they have to face each other. That means River Plate (4-3 on aggregate vs Chapecoense) battle it out for a spot in the final with Huracán (1-0 on aggregate vs Defensor Sporting).

Not the worst chances to defend the title for Superchampion River, who counted on Carlos Sánchez in the quarterfinals. The Uruguayan scored 3 of the club’s 4 goals.

None of the other teams that are left (apart from River Plate of course) have ever won the Copa Sudamericana.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sánchez Show to Victory – River Plate March On

In last night’s second matchup, the defending champions of every competition, River Plate, entered the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals with a never endangered 3-1 home victory over Chapecoense.  Man of the match was the brilliant Uruguayan midfielder Carlos Sánchez, who scored twice.


Carlos Sánchez celebrates Leonardo Pisculichis (right) freekick beauty (photo: CONMEBOL).

Right from the get go, River suddenly turned on their form again, that got lost since weeks in the Argentinian league, where they lost game after game. It always amazes me when a team can focus completely on one competition and put all their energy into it.

It took the home team 20 minutes, until they made their dominance count for the first time. A beautiful goal from Carlos Sánchez, who slotted home a low shot into the far corner from the edge of the area, assisted just as nicely by fullback Milton Casco, that showed tremendous overview while storming down the left flank.

River did not sit back and was determined to not let the guests come into this game and it worked well until the 37th minute. Then the Brazilians scored in a pretty simple way. Two times, the ball was deflected further forward, until it reached Maranhao. Chapecoenses left winger did not ask twice and shot the ball under Barovero and into the back of the net. River’s defender Jonatan Maidana was a little slow to react on that scene and let the opposing player walk right in.

It went to halftime tied 1-1 and the Argentinians knew that something had to happen offensively to not travel to Brazil with a disadvantage. They delivered yet again with a heavily dominated second half.

Coach Marcelo Gallardo made a positive offensive-minded substitution by bringing on Tabare Viudez for midfielder Lucho Gonzalez. Two minutes after, River took the lead back. No, it was not Viudez, but instead Leonardo Pisculichi stepped up with a direct freekick hammered into the top left corner: 2-1!

4 minutes from the end, they collected the highly earned third goal. After a tireless battle for the ball inside the area, Driussi crossed it low into the middle, where Carlos Sánchez only had to tap it in for his second goal of the night.

El Monumental was electric all night, as River Plate appear to be on the way to yet another international semifinal appearance, if they can hold on to their two goal lead when visiting Chapecoense in exactly a week.

Here are the highlights for you:

Controversial Goal – Paranaense beat Luqueño

It’s the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals week and Brazilian club Atlético Paranaense hosted Paraguay’s last team in the competition, Sportivo Luqueño.

The guests had yet to lose a game in this year’s competition, that also marked their first ever participation. 5 wins against Aurora, La Guaira and Deportes Tolima, along with a draw against La Guaira in the second round, show the strong international form of the Paraguayans.

For Paranaense on the other hand, it’s the first non-Brazilian opponent after advancing past Joinville and Brasília.  At this stage of the competition, easy games should be out of the question and I expected a low scoring affair, which is exactly what we got at the end.


Goalscorer Marcos Guilherme celebrates the matches’ lone goal (photo: CONMEBOL).

A 1-0 home win was the final result, the way it came together was quite controversial, as a foul before the deciding goal was not given by the referee. Walter’s foul was used by Marcos Guilherme, who fired an accurate shot into the bottom right corner, leaving opposing goalkeeper Jorge Chena no chance to make a save. Obviously, the ref should have taken the goal back, apparently did not see the foul though. I will link you the scene in video form below.

In fairness, the win was everything but undeserved. Atlético Paranaense was the dominant team throughout the game and had the better opportunities in the relatively boring first, as well as the second half. A shot total of 9-4 underlines that fact. Sportivo Luqueño on the other side have to come back with a strong home game to erase the deficit from this first leg.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One More Year – Zé Roberto Extends Contract

If age is really just a number, the expert for this thesis is a Brazilian athlete. Zé Roberto, at the age of 41, has extended his contract for another year with his club Palmeiras in São Paulo. This deal keeps him playing in his home country until at least December 2016.


(Photo: Reginaldo Castro/ LANCE!Press)

The former Brazilian international (84 games/6 goals) started his professional career in 1994, when he joined the first team from Portuguesa. From there on, it only went further upwards, teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Bayer Leverkusen look good on any resume. The largest part of his playing career was spent in Germany, where he easily became one of the most popular and likeable Bundesliga players.

One of his biggest strengths, his versatility, is shown again in the recent Série A season with Palmeiras. From leftback to left wing, central midfield or offensive midfield, Zé plays wherever the coach needs him most. Additionally, he leads the young players by example as Palmeiras’ captain and is able to show them what being a professional footballer and taking care of your body means.

In the club’s website interview with the player, Zé Roberto shows himself very content with the way things have worked out lately: "I'm very happy about the planning that is being done and, of course, about the extension of my contract. I feel great joy to know that I'm going to keep playing for Palmeiras one more year and I hope that during this period, we can honor the shirt of the club and reach our goals, which, of course, include winning titles and give even more joy to Palmeiras fans.”

The team is doing just fine, sitting only one point behind 4th place Santos. After a relatively rough up and down start to the season, they are knocking on the door of Copa Libertadores football in 2016. And that is surely not something you want to miss if you are a competitive athlete like Zé Roberto.


Palmeiras season up until today: The team has found itself and fights for 4th place (graphic: transfermarkt).

Friday, October 16, 2015

Your Football Weekend Plan

The weekend’s football is coming up after the international break and you want to know what you need to watch across South America? This overview is for you then.


(photo from Mirror UK)

Argentina could crown a new champion in the early hours of Monday morning (2.30 CET). Boca Juniors are visiting Racing Club and these are the scenarios that make them champions…

…Boca win and San Lorenzo only draw or lose in their away game against Olimpo (Sunday, 9.10pm CET).

…Boca draw and San Lorenzo loses. In addition, Rosario Central would not be allowed to gain more than one point in their match against Argentinos Juniors (Sunday, 9.10pm CET as well).

All Argentinian league games can be seen live on Fútbol Para Todos as usual.

The Strongest and Jorge Wilstermann duel over in Bolivia. It’s the match between 1st and 3rd. It should be a good one, as those two are the only teams that have not lost a single game yet (Sunday, 11.15pm CET).

Over to Brazil, where Flamengo await Internacional in a match between 8th and 9th. While you might now say “so what” as a neutral, this game is extremely important as fourth place is only 2 points away. The winner will be on an upwards trend (Sunday, 10pm CET).

Colo Colo attempt to forget about the first loss they experienced two weeks ago. And the chances aren’t the worst: They host San Marcos, who actually won their last three league games, but the record champions are always another category. So if you like Chile’s league, set a reminder for Sunday evening (10.30pm CET).

Fénix host Nacional (Saturday, 11pm CET) and Rentistas visit Peñarol in the Centenario (Sunday, 11pm CET). The Uruguayan title fight is in full flight and you can watch both of the favorites at convenient times. While both are expected to win, especially Nacional have not been the greatest away from home so far.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ecuador Shock Argentina – World Cup Qualification

Ecuador have pulled off the unthinkable against Argentina last night by beating the World Cup and Copa América finalists 2-0 on their own ground in the El Monumental.


When the others celebrate: Ecuador have beaten Argentina away from home.

The first chance of the game came only about 40 seconds in when di María had a shot from the right saved by goalkeeper Domínguez. But it was Ecuador who took command ever since, had a penalty shout from Caicedo turned down by the referee – rightly so. When the ball nearly reached Montero in the middle after a 2 on 1 counter in the 10th minute, Argentina could and maybe should have been down already.

Romero continued to make a few more vital clearances throughout the opening stages of the match, keeping his team in it. He retains the number 1 status for his country, despite not playing in Manchester. Finally, Messi-less Argentina found some offense around the 20 minute mark. Romero’s counterpart Domínguez came up with a fantastic save on the wide open Agüero. Pastore could not reach the rebound.

Agüero left the game injured after 24 minutes, replaced by Carlos Tévez.

Ecuador striker Miller Bolaños blasted one over the crossbar just shortly after an error from leftback Emanuel Mas. If a team had chances in this first half, it was predominantly the guests, who exposed Argentina’s back 4 that seemed to lack the final bit of concentration over and over.

Seconds before halftime, the Ecuadorians nearly scored an own goal while defending a corner. The ball flew just wide, being behind after 45 minutes would not have been deserved anyway for the brave visitors.

Argentina’s fans were wondering if their team could find a much needed improvement in the second half. The early answer was no. Defensively, the hosts continued to make unbelievable mistakes through the likes of Mas and Biglia, handing the ball right over to Ecuador. Noboa lobbed one of those attempts just wide. A shot from distance by di María and a weak deflection from Mascherano should remain the only chances of the second half for Gerardo Martino’s squad.


80 minutes in, Ecuador finally collected their well earned reward for a strong performance. A corner was extended to the far post and defender Frickson Erazo made no mistake and headed the ball into the back of the net (see picture above).

While Argentina still wondered what had happened to them, Ecuador struck again with a beautifully executed counter, finished by Felipe Caicedo.

It remained 0-2 until the end. A fantastic away performance by Ecuador, who open the World Cup Qualification campaign with a surprising victory against a weak Argentinian side.

Uruguay’s Successful Climb of Bolivian Mountains

A lot was made of the match location for the battle between Bolivia and Uruguay beforehand, as the stadium “Hernando Siles” lies over 3200 meters above sea level in the countries’ capital La Paz. It did not seem to bother the visitors the slightest. Uruguay came away with a 0-2 away win through goals from defenders Cáceres and Godín, their first ever win in aforementioned stadium.


Not only the environmental settings promised trouble, but missing star strikers Suárez and Cavani, as well as coach Tabárez, through suspension from the last World Cup and Copa América was an issue. In place of them, the likes of Stuani and Abel Hernandez started the game and were putting in a decent shift.

While Uruguay scored early through Cáceres with only his second international goal (10’), his team had to deal with even more adversity when Cristian Rodríguez had to be subbed off after injury. Still, the first ever world champion showed character and team spirit.

It paid off when Godín headed in the afternoon’s second goal in the 69th. The captain let out all his emotions after that strike together with his teammates and once more underlined one of the most significant strengths of this squad. Two minutes later, a high tackle from Jair Torrico resulted in a red card and Bolivia down to 10 men. It was effectively over right there.

The final stats tell us that Bolivia had more shots on goal, but Fernando Muslera was always up to his tasks and had a good game against the hosts.

Coach Tabárez, after having viewed the game from the stands, summed up the night: “We are very proud of these players.”

They made history and had a good opening game on the way to Russia in 2018.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Argentina Dominates – Copa Sudamericana Round Of 16

The Argentinian clubs had an extremely successful outing last night, with River Plate, Independiente and Huracán all advancing into the quarterfinals. They were followed by Sportivo Luqueño, Atlético Paranaense and Santa Fe.


The champion survives: Matías Kranevitter #5 from River Plate (EFE).

Tonight, the last two matches will be played between Defensor Sporting and Lanús (first leg 0-0), as well as Chapecoense and Libertad (first leg 1-1).

Therefore the quarterfinal looks as follows:

River Plate vs Winner of Chapecoense/Libertad

Sportivo Luqueño vs Atlético Paranaense

Winner of Defensor/Lanús vs Huracán

Santa Fe vs Independiente.

Throughout the game, there were chances on both sides between defending Sudamericana champion River Plate and their Ecuadorian opponents from LDU Quito. Mostly it was a pretty aggressive affair though. A total of 10 yellow and one red card were the result after 90 minutes. The only goal came through a shot from Narciso Mina in the 54th minute, which goalkeeper Barovero maybe should have saved. Quito striker Jonatan Alvez later missed a penalty that would have extended this tie. Like this, River moves to the next round with a 2-1 aggregate win over one of the most inform teams of South America (check the latest TOP ranking).

Independiente was the weaker team than Olimpia for most of the 90 minutes, but sneaked out with a 0-0 away draw which let them advance 1-0 on aggregate. What made the Paraguayan’s performance even more remarkable is the fact that they were down to ten men already in the 39th minute after a stomp from Eduardo Aranda that I am honestly not so sure about. Uruguayan Cristian Rodríguez wasted the biggest chance for the guests when he was wide open running towards goalkeeper Diego Barreto. As Olimpia waves goodbye to the competition I’m leaving you with the pre-match reception of the team from last night.

Huracán on the other hand convinced throughout their game against Brazilian Recife, scoring three goals until the 71st. Big striker Ramón Abila found the back of the net twice and Mauro Bogado did as well with a nice shot from distance in the middle of the two. Towards the end of the match, Recife fell apart, receiving two straight red cards in the last 15 minutes for Ferrugem and Wendel.

In the other game last night, the all Brazilian affair between Brasília and Atlético Paranaense, there was no winner in a goalless draw. Still, the visitors were the much better team with all the good chances, keeping the hosts from having any shot on target. Therefore it’s only right, that they advance to the next round 1-0 on aggregate.

Notes from the Copa Sudamericana:

Sportivo Luqueño played a day before and, with a 1-0 win (2-1 agg.) on the night through a Luis Miño goal, advanced over Deportes Tolima.

With Tolima going out, the only Colombian club left is Santa Fe.

That Santa Fe also won Tuesday night, 1-0 over Emelec, and advances through the away goal rule.

Goalscorer Wilson Morelo was the hero despite missing a penalty.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

South America’s Top Clubs – October 2015

Third month, third different team at the top of South America’s club ranking. Paraguay’s Olimpia has taken over the lead from Santa Fe, who have dropped out of the top 20 after 4 straight losses before winning against Emelec in the Copa Sudamericana last night.

Olimpia themselves nearly dropped out of the top spot on the last league matchday of the month, but came away with a 1-1 draw against Libertad.

One of the most impressive runs in the past month came from Copa Libertadores record champions Independiente who have gotten points for each of the last 15 matches that go into this ranking.

If you missed the rules for this ranking, I got you covered once more. A win in your domestic league gets you 3 points, a draw 1. Internationally, in Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana, those points get doubled to 6 and 2.







1 5 Olimpia Paraguay 41
2 - Independiente Argentina 40
3 3 LDU Quito Ecuador 40
4 7 Libertad Paraguay 40
5 4 Defensor Sporting Uruguay 40
6 8 River Plate Argentina 37
7 2 CS Emelec Ecuador 37
8 11 Colo Colo Chile 36
9 13 Sportivo Luqueño Paraguay 36
10 19 Deportivo La Guaira Venezuela 35
11 17 Club Nacional Uruguay 34
12 14 The Strongest Bolivia 34
13 20 Atlético Junior Colombia 34
14 6 Corinthians Brazil 34
15 10 Cerro Porteño Paraguay 33
16 - Melgar Peru 33
17 16 Universidad Católica Chile 33
18 - Sporting Cristal Peru 30
19 - Boca Juniors Argentina 30
20 - Deportes Tolima Colombia 30

Monday, September 21, 2015

10 in 10 – Weekend Roundup

New week, new category on Germancopa. This is a look at one top match from each South American league on the last weekend.


Last night, San Lorenzo beat Racing Club in a path-breaking game 2-1 at home. After dominating possession especially in early parts of the match, Mauro Cetto gave the hosts a 20th minute lead. The rightback was there to clean up the mess right in front of the goal after a direct freekick from Cauteruccio hit the crossbar. Racing, who had left Diego Milito on the bench until it was too late, improved their game in the second half and had some more chances. The consequence was the tying goal from Iván Pillud in the 78th minute with a wonderful strike from distance through a crowd following a corner. Emanuel Mas did not like that a lot and made a commanding run forward shortly after, which ended in the winning goal. His tap-in after another assist from Cauteruccio went by goalkeeper Saja and keeps San Lorenzo close to table toppers Boca.



Bolivia’s game between 1 and 2 went to 2 as The Strongest celebrated a 1-2 away win against Sport Boys Warnes. A horrible defensive giveaway in the fourth minute led to the guest’s opening goal from Rodrigo Ramallo. Still, the Sport Boys kept on competing and finally in the 41st got a little lucky. Alejandro Morales’ shot was deflected into the bottom right corner for the equalizer. It paid back at the start of the second half on the other side though. An own goal header from Helmut Gutiérrez proved impossible to save for goalkeeper Carlos Lampe. The Strongest have taken over the lead in Bolivia’s Apertura table with this win, one point ahead of their weekend’s opponents.


Palmeiras x Gremio

It was actually not easy to pick only one game here, but let’s go with the battle between the teams doing the chasing. Palmeiras hosted Grêmio and celebrated a 3-2 victory at Allianz Parque. A strong header from Vitor Hugo gave Palmeiras an early lead (7th) which they did not hold for too long though. Luan equalized with his 7th goal of the season after 20 minutes. Paraguayan international Lucas Barrios, this time a starter after his midweek 30 minute hattrick, paid back his coaches trust yet again. He headed home a cross in the 32nd minute after he was left pretty much wide open in the penalty area. In a game that was all about the offense, Palmeiras made it 3-1 early in the second half through Rafael Marques’ 7th league goal. Luan again, this time via penalty, could only make the scoreline a ted nicer for the visitors five minutes from the end. Grêmio stays 3rd, Palmeiras is the new 4th.


Did not see any club football action this weekend.


Lino Barcelona Cuenca

The traditional battle between Barcelona and Deportivo Cuenca ended in a 1-1 draw. The hosts were the clearly better team in front of a great crowd and had multiple chances to take (and later extent) the lead. It took them until the 52nd minute though until Ely Esterilla fired home a shot through a chaotic penalty area. After hitting the post with a freekick on top of things, they conceded the simplest and weakest way possible. A long kick from goalkeeper Ordóñez found the run of José Gutiérrez who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner (61st). Cuenca had finally arrived in the game now too and hit the post themselves shortly after. Still, all goals had gone in and it stayed 1-1 until the final whistle. Three teams now lead the league with 20 points each.


Alianza Petrolera, who lead the Colombian table, have lost 2-1 away to Atlético Junior. Sadly I could not find any highlights of this game yet, so we’ll go with the short version. Still, the loss was seemingly avoidable, as Petrolera took an early 14th minute lead due to a goal from Victor Castillo. Vladimir Hernández (45th/pen) and Michael Ortega (61st) turned the game around for the guests. With his successful strike, Hernández has joined Duque and Preciado at the top with 7 goals each.



Olimpia celebrated an exciting 4-2 home victory over Sportivo Luqueño. The visitors started pretty well and had the first few chances of the contest, would eventually score the opening goal. Derlis Alegre was the target of a long through ball that sliced open Olimpia’s back four and put it through the legs of goalkeeper Centurión. Still, the hosts kept calm and hit back twice before the halftime whistle. Robert Piris (31’) and Freddy Bareiro (42’) scored, the first one after a bad punch by opposing goalkeeper Giménez, the second from a short distance after a nice low cross from the right from Salgueiro.

Right as the second half started, Luqueño was back in it again, after an own goal from Carlos Rolón. While both teams kept having chances up and down the pitch, the breaking point was the second yellow card for Sportivo player Marcelo Báez in the 70th minute, which was the right decision. Olimpia went on to win the match through a fantastic flying header from Cristian Riveros (78’) and a penalty from Pablo Zeballos in the last minute. The hosts are top of the league, but Cerro Porteño have a game in hand.


Sporting Cristal continue to dominate the league early on with the fourth win in as many games, this time a 4-0, which was never in any doubt, over Ayacucho. Twice, Cristal scored both goals in the last 15 minutes of each half. César Pereyra (32’, 7th goal in 4 games!) and Alexís Cossio (38’) as well as Carlos Lobatón (82’) and Irven Ávila (90’) were the goalscorers. Particularly the first three goals are worth a look and you can get it here.



Nacional were victorious against CA Cerro last night and now lead the Uruguayan table after week 6 of the Apertura. Admittedly, they had to wait until the very end to be sure of it. A 4-3 win in a game that went back and forth was definitely worth watching and I am glad I did. Man of the match was Iván Alonso, the experienced striker scored Nacional’s first two goals himself and assisted on the last two.

Cerro took the lead early through a Correa goal (3’), equalized before the half hour mark through Alonso via penalty. Only two minutes into the second half he scored again, this time from open play. Luis Urruti made it 2-2 again after an hour and Urruti in general was a huge danger throughout the game. He made Santiago Romero look old in particular on multiple occasions. It did not matter though, since Nacional had more in the tank. Goals from Seba Fernández (69’) and Alejandro Barbaro (74’) in quick succession put the game to bed, at least theoretically. A Richard Porta penalty seven minutes from the end put a little scare back into the home fans, but the Uruguayan record champions held on until the end.


Caracas FC have lost their home game against Aragua FC 1-2. While Caracas was the better team throughout the early parts of the game and took the lead through a tap-in from Felix Cásseres in the 13th minute, they lost their way a bit after. The second half belonged to the guests, who scored twice. A shot into the bottom left corner from Raul Vallona (51’) and a nice lob from Tulio Etchemaite two minutes after decided this battle. While Caracas could have equalized with a shot that hit the crossbar, the score remained 1-2, putting Aragua up to third in the table, equal with leaders Zamora.