The weekend had plenty of action in the Brasileirão and Superliga Argentina. The Brazilian title race got even more interesting at the end of the first half of the season, while in Argentina, the big clubs are taking a little bit longer to get off the pace. And not forgetting, of course, plenty of beautiful goals and performances. Let’s take a look at the biggest talking points:
In Sunday’s early game, Atlético Paranaense destroyed title-chasing Flamengo in a 3-0 win. Atlético managed to finish the game in the first half with three goals coming in the first 20 minutes. Pablo hit the first with a well-executed set-piece routine, Rafael Veiga poached a second, and Zé Ivaldo added the third with a header.
In another early game on Sunday, Internacional had trouble beating bottom side Paraná. With the game level until the 50th minute, Inter’s Camilo scored an absolutely brilliant free-kick to give the win to the Tricolor, setting the Beira Rio on fire, and put them temporarily at the top of the table. A disappointing result for Paraná, who were so close to snatching a point away from home.
Palmeiras are showing big signs of improvement under Luis Felipe Scolari, and a commanding 3-0 win over Vitória is a big highlight. Former Levante striker Deyverson scored two to put Palmeiras in front. Late in the game, Dudu scored a wonderful third goal showcasing great footwork and cool finish.
Another 3-0 win as Atlético Mineiro defeated Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro. Luan opened the scoring for Galo with a nice one-two with Matheus Galdezani. The second goal came after a Liverpool-esque counter-attack guided by Yimmi Charrá, who ran the whole pitch and left it easy for Cazares. Tomás Andrade added the third with a nice curled shot.
League leaders São Paulo need a win to stay on top after Internacional’s win over Paraná earlier on Sunday. And Diego Aguirre’s side didn’t disappoint. Shaylon score the first in the first-half and Hudson added the second, giving São Paulo a comfortable win and putting them back at the top of the table.
Rosario Central are top of the table and the only team with a 100% record after an away win over Talleres. In an eventful match, in which both teams had chances, Edgardo Bauza’s side achieved a 1-0 win thanks to a header by Fernando Zampedri, who also had a solid overall performance.
Newell’s Old Boys and Independiente were responsible for an exciting game on Friday. Visitors Independiente opened the scoring with Emmanuel Gigliotti in a well-worked counter-attacking move. Hector Fertoli put Newell’s level after positioning himself nicely in the box and finishing calmly. However, Independiente went in front again with another Gigliotti strike; this time thanks to a defensive mistake by Newell’s. The home side managed to get a point after Fontanini scored a thunderous volley to get Newell’s level.
River’s start to the Superliga has been slow – very slow. After an opening 0-0 draw against Huracan in the first match, River drew again against Belgrano, this time in front of their fans at the Monumental. The highlight of the match was surely goalkeeper Cesar Rigamonti, who made seven difficult saves to help his side to a draw. On River’s side, Colombia international Juan Quintero was superb, a typical brilliant midfield performance.
Just like the first week, Tigre were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw, this time away against Colon. Diego Vera opened the scoring for the visitors, but Clemente Rodriguez equalised 15 minutes later for the home side, after dribbling past a couple of defenders and finishing well inside the box. What followed was a quick reaction by Tigre, that got in front a minute after Colon had equalised. Colon eventually scored a second to get the game level and earn them a draw.
Elsewhere, the surprise of the weekend was Boca Juniors’ defeat at Estudiantes. Boca have been at the top of the Superliga since December 2016, and their defeat finally took them off the summit
Fabian Nogueira opened the scoring for the home team with a header in second-half. To finish off the game, youngster Matias Pellegrini scored a wonderful solo goal to give Estudiantes the win.
- Flamengo need a little more consistency. After being at the top of the table for several weeks, the Mengão are starting to slow down at the worst time. The title race looks very, very open with São Paulo, Internacional, and Flamengo all going for it.
- Internacional are doing fantastic this season. Differently from Flamengo, Odair Hellmann’s side have been consistent in their results and in their performance. They needed a little bit of luck against Paraná and they got it. The future looks bright for Inter.
- Palmeiras have been improving under Felipão. Even though Roger’s — Palmeiras’ former manager — spell wasn’t bad, Felipão is getting the best out of his players. Deyverson is back scoring, and Dudu is playing to his level.
- Atlético Mineiro have also been a pleasing surprise. The 3-0 over Botafogo highlights the great job manager Thiago Larghi has been doing. Atlético are a good defensive side and very dangerous on the counter, qualities that Larghi is exploiting very well.
- River need to wake up quickly. They improved from their last game, but are still pretty far from the quality they have. If Lucas Pratto finished the chances he had against Belgrano, surely River would have gone away with a win. We know they have quality, but still pretty far from their potential.
- Huge win for Estudiantes, and one that can define their season. After winning against Grêmio in the Copa Libertadores earlier in the month, Estudiantes can be a surprise this season.
Player of the week:
I think it’s fair to give Estudiantes’ youngster Matias Pellegrini the player of the week award. Not only the 18-year-old scored a wonderful goal, but his whole performance was great. The attacking midfielder created some opportunities and has qualities that will be great in the future. A name to remember.
Goal of the week:
Camilo really deserves the goal of the week, not only for its beauty, but also for its importance. A free-kick with a considerable distance from goal and the midfielders took it perfectly, hitting the post before going in. And also was a very important goal, as Internacional got the win and moved up to 1st thanks to Camilo’s strike.