February 23 • El Tanque Sisley 3-1 Central Español; Peñarol 1-1 Fénix; Wanderers 2-1 Cerro Largo; February 24 • Bella Vista 0-1 Racing; Juventud 0-4 River Plate; Progreso 2-1 Cerro; Liverpool 0-1 Danubio; Nacional 0-1 Defensor Sporting.
El Tanque Sisley 3-1 Central Español
Osvaldo Canobbio who replaced Raúl Möller as ETS’s coach, debuted with a win at Estadio Campeones Olímpicos in Florida. El Tanque cruised to a 3-1 victory with goals from Gastón Minutillo, Santiago Lamanna and Juan Manuel Morales. Sergio Souza supplied Central’s lone goal. Note – Central’s Guillermo Fripo was shown a red card in the 45th minute.
Peñarol 1-1 Fénix
Thanks to a “Chilena” in the 55th minute from Juan Manuel Olivera, Peñarol managed to draw with Fénix at El Centenario. Fénix, scored first with a goal from Hernán Novick, but it was Fénix’s Panamanian goalkeeper who took home all the accolades as Luis Mejía had some really good saves according to match reports.
Note – 9 yellow cards were dished out by Fernando Falce, which included 2 red cards (Rodrigo Rojo who was ejected after drawing 2 yellows and NT midfielder Matías Aguirregaray who saw a straight ejection in the 82nd minute.)
Wanderers 2-1 Cerro Largo
A brace from Maxi Rodríguez was enough for Wanderers to clinch the 2-1 win over Cerro Largo. Note – 5 players were shown yellow cards and Santiago Martinez (Wanderers) was shown a red card in extra time.
Bella Vista 0-1 Racing
With a goal from Diego Zabala (see picture) and solid midfield play from Carlos Díaz, Racing overcame Bella Vista at El Parque Nasazzi. “We started out flat, after 25 minutes, we dominated. This gives us a measure of tranquility and opens up expectations for what’s to come.” Juan Tejera, Racing’s Manager, issued afterwards.
From all accounts the game was a dreadful affair and it will get a lot more dreadful for Bella Vista next week, as they will be without the services of Leonel Pilipauskas, Gonzalo Freitas and Simón Vanderoeght for next week’s fixture. Note – Former Manya manager, Julio Ribas debuts with a loss.
Juventud 0-4 River Plate
With goals from Techera (who nabbed a brace), Avenatti and Olaza, River Plate got the away win at el Parque Artigas de Las Piedras.
Progresso 2-1 Cerro
At el Estadio Nasazzi an own goal from Cerro’s Claudio Dadomo enabled Progresso to draw with Cerro who had supplied the game’s early goal courtesy of Pablo Pallante, but then in the 84th minute Gustavo Alles supplied the game winner for Progresso. Note – this game had an excessive amount of yellow cards (9 in total).
Liverpool 0-1 Danubio
Herr Möller’s Liverpool lost at el Estadio Belvedere to Danubio – Carboni supplied the only goal for the match. Note – although Jonathan Barboza was ejected for Liverpool, only 2 yellow cards were shown in the game one of which went to Barboza.
Nacional 0-1 Defensor Sporting
Defensor obtained a rare away win at el Parque Central. Under-20 Standout Diego Laxalt provided Defensor’s goal in the 12th minute of play, which broke a deadlock of 7 straight games without a win against Nacional dating back to the 2010 Clausura.
As this Blog was able to enjoy this game on TV with a good brew at the ready, I guess an analysis of some kind should be provided. Basically it was an up & down kind of affair. Defensor looked good early on but then Defensor burned through two early substitutions in the first half, as Robert Herrera & London Olympian Ramón Arias went down to injury (possible fracture for Arias). At which point, the game alternated between a chippy contest with the occasional flashes of football.
I kept waiting for Nacional to draw the match, especially when Recoba and then Abreu were subbed in the second half but it never happened. Instead Arismendi drew his second yellow and was ejected leaving Nacional with 10 men and behind the proverbial eight-ball. Defensor had some opportunities but other than a header sent to the moon by Sebastian Taborda, Defensor never did manage the numerical superiority to any kind of advantage, i.e., another goal – and then Jorge Bava got extra help down the stretch, NOT from his back line but from the goal-posts, which inevitably saved Nacional from a bigger loss. Nacional’s best player was Israel Damonte who did the yeoman’s work in a midfield that never could get past Defensor’s solid defense. For Defensor, De Arrascaeta was a monster while Andrés Fleurquin was also solid and while we’re giving out kudos, so was Irrazábal down the stretch – and it goes without mentioning that Nacional had a hard time containing Under-20 Phenom Diego Laxalt.
Peñarol 37 points, Defensor 35 points, El Tanque Sisley 33 point & Nacional 32 points.