Racing Match Report: Racing Club 2 Tigre 1 Copa Argentina Round 2
Racing Club de Avalleneda 2
Club Atletico Tigre 1
7th August 2015
Racing have progressed into the Third Round of the fourth edition of the Copa Argentina following their strongest performance since the return to action following the Copa America.
Racing fielded a full strength eleven once more, as they faced top flight opposition for the first time in the Copa Argentina 2014-15, with only Diaz and Romero being players who don’t start regularly. Tigre responded in kind fielding a strong eleven, with a few changes of their own, but missing former Racing icon (and my favourite former Racing player) Augustine Pelletieri.
The game was played in front of largely empty stands, despite being a clash between two large Top Division teams, in a decent sized stadium, in a competition which allows away support, the Copa Argentina play all fixtures in neutral grounds, in parts of the country in which one or both sides may not have any supporters. This fixture was hosted at the home stadium of San Martin de San Juan, some 692 miles from Buenos Aires where both clubs hail from.
This was the best performance Racing have put in since the International break, which saw them put putting together good attacking moves, featuring good link up passing and an improved ability to create and use space afforded them by the Tigre defending, whilst on the defensive end the Racing back four played with far greater discipline than we have seen in a long while. Saja had a typically solid match between the sticks, Grimi and Diaz worked hard, whilst Lollo and Sanchez were strong in the middle, the defenders kept their shape better than I have seen them in 6 fixtures.
Racing started the game with fantastic energy with ‘El Principe’ Diego Milito creating a chance within the first minute for Romero, the forward however, was unable to anything more than toe poke the ball in to hands of Lugo, the Tigre goalkeeper. Racing were clicking well early on and got the scoring under way after 7 minutes, following a great pass into space on the left from Cerro, Washington Camacho got to the ball and whipped an inviting low ball into the space at the near post which was rifled in to the roof of the net by Gustavo Bou, the fantastic forward who had not scored since the break.
Following the opener Tigre started to grow in to the match, which was not short of niggling fouls and full blooded challenges, very much the Argentine way, and coped with the injury to their experienced center back Blengio who was replaced by the 21 year old Godoy. Blengio was injured after sliding in to his goalkeeper, hurting them both in the process, however Blengio’s injury was severe enough for him to be replaced after trying to run the injury off after a few minutes.
Tigre got an equaliser on 20 minutes after a long throw was not dealt with by first, Lollo and then Sanchez, the ball was met with a firm low left footed volley from Ernesto Goñi, which had Saja well beaten even before the deflection it took before settling in the back of the net. It was a mixture of some very poor defending to a very common tactic and a very nice strike from Goñi. Tigre were in the ascendancy for the ten minutes following the goal, looking for the go ahead goal, and they would have got it, were it not for the fantastic work of Saja. Gonzalez had collected a fine ball which saw him one on one with the Racing keeper, however Saja stayed tall and forced the Tigre man wide, Gonzalez’s shot finding the side netting from a very acute angle.
Another Racing first for the last few weeks was the threat they were posing from their set pieces. Racing had a corner kick on 28 minutes which had the Tigre defense scrambling to have it clear, this was after a lovely free kick forced a fine save from Lugo who stopped Grimi’s follow up effort. A few minutes later Racing were once again knocking on the door as Milito under pressure put his effort just wide of Lugo’s left upright, all the while handling any threat being posed by the Tigre attack. Racing were closing down Tigre and winning the ball back as fast as they could with high energy pressing further up the field than we are used to from Racing.
On 38 minutes Racing would once again break the deadlock this time from a set piece. A corner from the left, taken by Romero, was put on to the penalty spot, Lugo came for the ball but flapped at it and found himself floundering on the floor, Lollo and Sanchez, the tall Racing center backs had three shots between them, all blocked, before the ball fell the feet of Leandro Grimi, who slotted the ball in to the top right corner with the perfect finish, outside of his left boot. This fine finish was the final real action of the first half as the game descended in to a stop/start affair with a number of cheap little fouls and long balls going off target before the referee called a close to the half.
The second half was quite even, with Tigre controlling much of the ball searching for an equalising goal, Racing treated their fans to their best defensive performance in months as they held the Tigre attack at bay, attack after attack. Racing defended with a renewed tenacity and excellent organisation, holding a firm back line, marshalled by Saja, the Racing back four were covering for each other, clearing the box quickly and connecting much better with their midfielders well.
The second 45′ lacked the highlight plays of the first half, however Racing and Tigre played the match at a high pace, both sides pressing high up the field, always looking for more goals, Tigre had the chances in the second half, but rarely called Saja in to action, such was the quality of the defending, especially the ability in the standing tackle of Sanchez. The match came to an end following an intriguing and enjoyable 90 minutes of football, both sides giving large amounts of energy, both sides defending well and giving all their efforts in the tackle.
With this win Racing will be facing lower league opposition in either, Atlanta or Comunicaciones and depending how the matches go a potential meet up with San Lorenzo in the quarter finals. Racing Club have taken a step in the right direction before their next league fixture on Saturday against Union, who last weekend beat Boca Juniors 4-3 away at La Bombanera. I expect Cocca to field a similar squad to the one which completed a very professional match last night against Tigre, as Racing fight to remain in contention for retaining their league championship.
The Sportazine Racing Club man of the match was Gustavo Bou, who played well for 80 minutes before being substituted, and scored a lovely goal to open the scoring.
The Sportazine Tigre man of the match was Ernesto Goñi, who scored a nice goal and had another wise very solid game.
You can find featured image on Flickr.