By DAVID MOSSE
The Uruguayan Apertura Championship kicked off this weekend with a marquee matchup between River Plate and Clausura champions Nacional headlining the slate of games. It was the debut on the Nacional bench fo Argentinean playmaker Marcelo Gallardo and proved to be a see-saw battled that ended in a 3-3 draw.
River Plate actually jumped out to a two-goal advantage late in the first half through Brazilian Janderson Pereira and Pablo Olivera, but Nacional overturned matters in spectacular fashion. Tabare Viudez found the back of the net in the 57th minute to cut the lead before Richard Porta equalized midway through the second half.
Veteran striker Alvaro Recoba was acquired from Danubio this summer and could be poised for a monster campaign. Recoba put Nacional in front in the 76th minute, completing a remarkable comeback that seemed destined to result in the visitors claiming all three points, but the hosts provided one more twist in the end.
Maureen Franco equalized for River Plate in the 88th minute, rounding out the scoring. River can't be too displeased with the outcome after playing almost the entire second half down a man due to Gonzalo Porras receiving his marching orders. It appears another exciting season could be in store in Uruguay.
Here’s a rundown of all the weekend scores from some of Latin America’s top leagues:
Defensor Sporting made a winning start to its Apertura campaign, knocking off Rampla Juniors 2-0, despite being outplayed for large portions of the match. Brahian Aleman broke the deadlock with a beautiful strike from long distance and had a hand in the second goal, setting up Ignacio Risso for the clincher late in the second half.
Racing Montevideo 1, Liverpool 1
Danubio 1, Montevideo Wanderers 0
Cerro Largo 1, Rentistas 0
CA Cerro 3, Sportivo Cerrito 1
El Tanque Sisley 0, Centro Atletico Fenix 2
Pumas was held to a draw for the second straight round, this time by Santos Laguna, but Los Auriazules remain atop the table of Mexico’s Apertura Championship. The visitors actually took the lead early in the second half thanks to a remarkable finish from Oribe Peralta, but Eduardo Herrera notched an equalizer 10 minutes from time.
Club America was very fortunate to salvage a point against Tigres on Saturday. Las Aguilas took the lead through Christian Benitez early in the first half, but Tigres overturned matters with an own goal from Patricio Trevino and a lovely finish by Hector Mancillo. Club America snatched an equalizer late through Renato Gonzalez.
Morelia 1, Chivas 2
San Luis 1, Monterrey 0
Jaguares 1, Cruz Azul 1
Pachuca 3, Toluca 0
Club Atlas 0, Estudiantes 2
Atlante 1, Queretaro 3
Tijuana 1, Puebla FC 1
Argentinean playmaker Walter Montillo put forth a dazzling display on Saturday, as Cruzeiro crushed Avai 5-0 to snap a four-match losing streak in the Brazilian Championship. It was by far the best performance under Joel Santana, as Thiago Ribeiro and Ramon also found the back of the net. Cruzeiro is now 10th in the table.
Atletico Paranaense held Sao Paulo to a draw, but it could have been worse for the Paulista club had Rivaldo not snatched an equalizer in the closing moments with Sao Paulo trailing 2-1. The former World Player of the Year has emerged as an influential figure, helping keep his team within striking distance of Corinthians and Flamengo.
Atletico Goianiense 2, Santos 0
Botafogo 4, America Minas Gerais 2
Corinthians 2, Ceara 2
Coritiba 3, Atletico Mineiro 0
Figueirense 2, Flamengo 2
Vasco 1, Palmeiras 0
Bahia 1, Internacional 1
Gremio 2, Fluminense 1
What did you think of this week’s results? Excited by the River Plate-Nacional match? Is Pumas the top team in Mexico?