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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"There's a little bit of a South American touch, if that's not Irish."

With little action in Europe (except a few commiserations for Psycho's Psyde), TDH is taking another opportunity to share the glories of South American football with the wider world.

Last week brought one of the few classic ties in the early rounds of the Copa Libertadores: River Plate v Palmeiras. TDH is no fan of River, but Academy Award winners Gallardo and Oberman weren't playing, which made the match watchable. By the end, TDH was wondering how in the world Palmeiras was third in the Paulista championship. It wasn't even close.

Daniel "Rolfi" Montenegro set up a classic first goal that drew a thunderous, eerie rumble from the crowd at the Monumental, before the usual high-pitched cheers began. Then Montenegro scored a 40-yard, top-corner laser from a free kick for the second one. (Forty yards is no exaggeration - TDH saw the replay.)

The third goal, also by Montenegro, came in open play from a precision shot in the second half. And then he set up the fourth. Scoring the fourth goal so moved Gonzalo Aban that he lay flat on his back for a whole minute. Then, as his teammates pulled him to his feet, he wiped away tears with his dirt-stained jersey.

Locals don't seem to think Montenegro is Argentina's very own Fat Frank; they say he's just having a good run of form. But TDH thinks he should get a look-in for the World Cup if he keeps going like this for another six weeks. Riquelme can't do it all the time, all by himself, especially with Serbian heavies gunning for him in the first round.


A mere 2,700 miles away, Liga DU de Quito took on Uruguay's Rocha in the high Andes. The altitude (9,300 feet) seemed to be getting to the visitors as Liga took an early 2-0 lead. In the second half, The Fog descended. As the hapless Uruguayans ran around in circles, Liga lashed in their third and fourth goals - you could barely see them on television. And then, with the scoreline at 4-0, the fog suddenly lifted. Coincidence, or the mystical magic of the Andes?


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

Don't know a huge amount about the Argentine league, but I hear more and more about players like Ortega, Palermo and Gallardo playing out there. has their famous well of young talent finally started to dry up? You never used to hear so much about players over 26, all the starts were barely out of their teens.

11:37 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Well, there are two things going on. These guys all tried to make it it Europe, but none of them had the same kind of success as in Argentina. They didn't have the consistency or staying power. They also got old, often spending half the season on the bench. So they came back here. I'm willing to bet that their quality of life is higher here, too. They don't have to play as often, and they're still treated like kings. Plus, there's all that good beef and wine.

But for every Gallardo, there's a bunch of talented teenagers waiting for their shot. More on them later....

2:40 PM  

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