Thursday, January 31, 2008

Diego visits England

In a surprising visit to the UK, Diego went to a Chelsea training session, attended a few matches (Arsenal-Newcastle on Tuesday, Man Utd.-Tottenham on Sunday) and signed a lot of autographs while taking the time to apologize for the "Hand of God's" goal in an interview with The Sun newspaper.

He spoke of a possible job in England in the future and while at Chelsea's training ground he took pictures with almost every player (Joe COLE being the most clearly excited about Diego's visit) and signed a shirt to Franco DI SANTO, the Argentine youngster that has just arrived to the Stamford Bridge club.

Check the full Diego interview with The Sun and see the slideshow:

Here's Chelsea's official website take on Diego:

And for a variety of links, click here:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NBA News - Raps Trash, Bulls Loose

Toronto Raptors 122 Washington Wizards 83

The Raptors equal their best ever result in their franchise history, 39-point margin victory. This comes to know surprise when you have the best 3 pointer shooting team in the entire league, 42.3 percent from the arc.
Carlos DELFINO was among six players in double digit performance as he posted 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal. Almost contradicting his performance for the Raptors previous game, which turns out to be the Wizards.

Minnesota Timberwolves 83 Chicago Bulls 67

Once again, it was the home court advantages that gave the winner to end the night splendidly.

Andres NOCIONI was almost nowhere compare to his previous night performance against the Wolves, as he only manage to post 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 block shot.

Cup Action Across Europe

In Italy…

Inter Milan are through to the next stage of the Coppa Italia after defeating Juventus away 3-2 and winning 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter finals.

Julio CRUZ converted a penalty in the 39th minute to level the score at 2-2 before Italian youngster Mario BALOTELLI scored the winner in the 54th minute.

Juventus finished off the game with 10 men after Argentinean born Mauro CAMORANESI was sent off four minutes from time.

Inter will now play Lazio in the semi final.

In Spain…

Atlético Madrid is out of the Copa del Rey despite winning 3-2 as Valencia edge them 3-3 on aggregate, on away goal rule.

Sergio AGUERO fired a brilliant left foot shot in the 18th minute to Atlético 2-0 up in the 18th minute. Maxi RODRIGUEZ was in the starting line up for Atlético as was Ever BANEGA for Valencia.

It was also more or less the same picture when Mallorca played Getafe as they crashed out after 2-2 on aggregate, on away goal rule. Ariel IBAGAZA strikes first for the islander in the 7th minute.

Germán LUX and Guille PEREYRA were starters for Mallorca while on the opposite end there was Oscar USTARI, Daniel DIAZ & Lucas LICHT.

In Portugal…

Sporting Lisbon are thorugh to the Portugese League Cup final after defeating Penafield 3-1, with Leandro ROMAGNOLI opening the scoring for the Lions.

In Belgium…

Hernán LOSADA was among the scorer in Germinal Beerschot 5-1 win over Roeselare in the first leg of the Belgian Cup quarterfinals.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NBA News - Manu's High Still Not Enough

Washington Wizards 108 Toronto Raptors 104

Despite playing for more than 23 minutes, Carlos DELFINO was not able to contribute much as he posted just 1 point & 2 rebounds.

Houston Rockets 111 Golden State Warriors 107

Finally Rockets coach Rick ADELMAN has finally realized that the best power forward that he has on his roster is Luis SCOLA.

For the second successive game, SCOLA was given the nod to play as a starter. He posted 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Chicago Bulls 96 Minnesota Timberwolves 85

Andres NOCIONI gave another strong performance as he posted 18 points, 5 rebounds & 3 assists.

Seattle Supersonics 88 San Antonio Spurs 85

It looks like life for the Spurs are going to be even tougher than expected as they suffered their third consecutive defeat, despite getting off to solid start.

Manu GINOBILI was a starter in the absence of Tony PARKER, still did posted a game high 29 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds.

Fabricio OBERTO was also a starter did had a good start and went on to post 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 steal.

Moralez Set For Racing Loan Return

Now this news that is going delight Seba & the Garcia family. Maxi MORALEZ could be set to re-join his former side Racing Club on loan for a year from Russian side FC Moscow, after the Argentine side opened negotiations with their Russian counterparts.

MORALEZ 20, join FC Moscow after winning the Under-20 World Cup with Argentina last year but is struggling to settle down there. He only took part in limited number if games, although part of this was due to injury problems.

The problem Racing may face is that MORALEZ himself he said to be keen to prove his worth in Russia and Racing’s president Fernando DE TOMASO is therefore trying to entice him with a regular first-team place that could put him in contention for a place in Argentina's Olympic squad in the summer.

"He has much more chance of reaching Beijing here than he does over there. Going to that competition must be important to him as that would greatly raise his profile."

Racing coach Miguel MICO believes that if they can bring MORALEZ back to the club it will elevate the team to another level in 2008.

"With Maxi, this would be a totally different team. I needed a quick and creative player and he fulfils both of those," MICO told Olé.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

NBA News - High Octane From Luis, Chapu & Carlos

Portland Trail Blazers 79 Houston Rockets 89

It was a team effort rather than individuals that help the Rockets to secure their third win in a row, in the process ending the Blazers home winning streak.

Luis SCOLA's contribution was all important to this, as four out of five Rocket's players that posted double digit were from the bench.

He finished off the night with 12 points, a game high 12 rebounds, 1 assist & 3 steals.

Chicago Bulls 77 Charlotte Bobcats 90

Despite playing to a sell out crowd for the 70th time, the Bulls suffered a set back in their quest for a play off birth after this defeat.

Once again Andres NOCIONI carried most of the scoring load in the absence of Ben GORDON and Luol DENG, scoring a game high 25 points. He also posted 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 2 block shot.

It will definitely be a close fight until the end of the regular season, as the Bulls still trailed the Indiana Pacers by one game with New Jersey Nets in between them.

Toronto Raptors 106 Milwaukee Bucks 75

The Raptors must be on a high after that phenomenal win over the Celtics just a few nights ago. And they really were. Tonight, the Bucks simply had no answer for this Eastern Conference high flyer.

Carlos DELFINO was also on a high as he posted 18 points, 4 rebounds & 1 assist.

Cavegol Does It Again

Once upon a time, he was regarded as the future striker for Argentina. As a matter a fact he did had the very similar look of someone that we all simply know him as Gabriel "Batigol" BATISTUTA.

Then a silly decision (in my opinion perhaps it was stupid) that as made, saw him packing his bags into the freezing Russian winter to play for Spartak Moscow. After that he just disappeared.
Somewhere last year his name resurfaced again, when it appears that French side Girondins Bordeaux were willing to take him out of the cold and since then he never look back. This is the story of Fernando CAVENAGHI.

Last week he made it clear to the French side that he is staying despite rumours about him moving back to Argentina.

"I want to play for Bordeaux in France, not for another team,” he added. “I read (Estudiantes manager) Diego SIMEONE’s declarations but I repeat that I want to stay at least four or five years at Bordeaux.

Surely I wouldn't want him to leave when he is currently on fire after scoring his fifth goal in four games in Bordeaux 1-0 over St. Etiene. The result meant they are still in second place, 3 points behind Olympic Lyon.

I'm just hoping with this progress he will be considered for a place in the National Team, knowing the fact that we do need an out and out striker.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NBA - Manu's 18 & 3 In A Row

Miami Heat 89 San Antonio Spurs 90

The champion of 2006 entertains the champion of 2005 & 2007. However these days it doesn’t look like it is clash among champions.

The Heat is suffering big time having now going for 15th consecutive match without a win. While the Spurs, as usual, leaving it late for the past three games.
Manu GINOBILI driving lay up with 36.5 seconds left allowed Spurs to rallied back from a 10-point deficit to win this tie. Manu has often produced the most when others are having a mediocre time.

He also posted game high of 11 rebounds (together with Tim DUNCAN) & 8 assists plus 2 steals in the process.

Fabricio OBERTO was brought back to the starting line up posted 4 points, 3 rebounds & 1 assist.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NBA News - Surprise In Boston & Wins For Others

Boston Celtics 112 Toronto Raptors 114

The last occasion that I remember seeing the Raptors when they travel to play the Celtics, they were beaten to the core.

But today the effort of an entire team was needed if they had to overcome PIERCE-GARNETT-ALLEN.
Though 4 of their started were in double-digit points, much of the extra ammunition from the bench came from Carlos DELFINO. He was 100% from the three points.

Eventually he finished off the game by posting 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal.

Chicago Bulls 108 Indiana Pacers 95

If the Bulls had to re-affirm their chances on booking a play off spot in Eastern Conference, it had to be this game. And now after winning tonight’s game, they trailed the eight place Pacers by one game.

The day started for the Bulls filled with plenty of uncertainty as both Luol DENG and Ben GORDON had sit out because of injuries. Which means other had to step it up.
True to his class, Andres NOCIONI produce another hit performance with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal & 2 block shot to help the Bulls win this game.

San Antonio Spurs 103 Los Angeles Lakers 91

Spurs secured their second successive victory. For a while it may not have look possible as they were trailing for most of the occasion. But in the end that’s just the Spurs that we have always knew.
By his own standard, Manu GINOBILI did have a good night but still played a big part in posting 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists & a game high 8 steals.

Fabricio OBERTO started from the bench had no points just a rebound & an assist only.

Seattle Supersonics 107 Houston Rockets 109

The Rockets rallied back from an 89-99 deficit with 5 minutes left to produce this win.

Luis SCOLA, who had the better of minutes playing ahead of Chuck HAYES, posted 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 steal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The list to face Guatemala in Los Angeles

We knew there was a friendly coming up for Argentina and we knew it was going to be against Guatemala in Los Angeles.

Well, now we know which players will be wearing the Albiceleste there.

Sergio BATISTA announced the list of 18 that will represent us in February 6th.

The anticipated presence of Juan Roman RIQUELME, Javier MASCHERANO and Martín DEMICHELIS is confirmed, while Lionel MESSI misses out because he is not 100% match-fit. Benfica's Angel DI MARIA gets the call in his place.

Here's the list and some information about each of the 18 young men that will probably be the core of our Olympic National Team.

Gonzalo HIGUAIN is finally on board while Ezequiel GARAY leads a solid defensive unit that will be playing in front of Oscar USTARI (or Sergio ROMERO).

The surprise is embodied by defender Cristian ANSALDI who plays for Rubin Kasan (Russia).

Other notable names:

Pablo ZABALETA, Fernando GAGO, Federico FAZIO, Ever BANEGA, José SOSA, Sergio AGÜERO and Ezequiel LAVEZZI.

Link to the full list:
Source: AFA (Asociación Argentina de Fútbol)

Monday, January 21, 2008

NBA News - A Win For Manu & Spurs

Charlotte Bobcats 86 San Antonio Spurs 95

In recent games, the defending champion has been going through perhaps the toughest period they’ve ever had this season. Not to mentioned coming into this game with back-to-back defeats. This win could come in handy for them re-ignite their wining instinct.

Manu GINOBILI was on top again with 16 points, 5 rebounds, team high 6 assists & 4 steals plus 1 block shot.

On a rare situation Fabricio OBERTO started the game from the bench in place. He manages to post 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals & 1 block shot.

Houston Rockets 96 Seattle Supersonics 83

Despite the win, it was a disappointing night for Luis SCOLA as despite playing for 25 plus minutes he had no points and only 3 rebounds & 1 assist to his credit.

Memphis Grizzlies 104 Chicago Bulls 90

Another defeat for the Bulls, which will definitely, ensures that they have a long battle ahead in order to clinch a play off spot.

Andres NOCIONI was the Bulls second best man behind Ben GORDON with 16 points, 3 rebounds & 1 assist.

Orlando Magic 102 Detroit Pistons 100

I had to say this but Walter HERRMANN only had 43 seconds of action of the night.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

CaveGol & The Blues

It was another weekend that was packed with action from the European domestic scene. Though we were enlighten by the arrival of Sergio BATISTA as the new under-23, now we have more reason to feel happy about our chances to go to Beijing to defend our precious gold.

English Premier League

Perhaps the only highlight this week was that brilliant set up from Carlos TEVEZ that allowed Wayne ROONEY to score Man Utd first goal against Reading. Not really, as I got something more for you.

Nobody knows what made him decide to go and play there in the first place. Maybe it was because he was young and naïve or perhaps could not resist the temptation of the big bucks.

But now I guess Mauro ZARATE has come full circles after it was reveal that Birmingham City has signed him on six month loan deal from Al-Saad from Qatar. And ZARATE signed off in style as he scored and set-up two in a 4-0 win over rivals Al-Gharrafa.

Birmingham, alongside Liverpool and Newcastle were making a last minute ditch to get the 20 years old signature. He will fly into England early on Saturday and will be at St Andrews for Birmingham's clash with Chelsea.

From my own perspective, it was a good decision. Lets hope that he has a successful six months with the Blues, and perhaps Checho might want to consider him for the trip to Beijing.

Italian Serie A

Inter Milan maintained their seven-point lead at the top after defeating Parma 3-2 in a controversial match, courtesy of Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC last minute brace.
Esteban CAMBIASSO struck first for Inter in the 30th minute, which also saw Hernan CRESPO, Javier ZANETTI, Nicolas BURDISSO (all starters) and Julio CRUZ (2nd half substitute) in action.

A day earlier, super sub Luciano FIGUEROA scored the winner in Genoa 2-1 over Atalanta.

Spanish Primera Liga

A real pity for Kun, Maxi and Atletico after losing 2-0 to Real in the Madrid derby but at least there was Diego MILITO double strike which gave Real Zaragoza a comfortable 3-1 over Murcia.

French Ligue 1

Fernando CAVENAGHI was instrumental in Bordeaux 2-1 win over Le Mans. The result allowed them to stay in touch of league leader Lyon, whom happen to lost to Lens on Sunday, 3-0.

CAVENAGHI caught Yoann PELE off his line with a clever lob in the 13th minute. He then turned provider nine minutes later when his cross was flicked on by David BELLION, for Fernando MENEGAZZO to fire a right-footed shot just under the crossbar.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Up North & Down Under

NBA News

Houston Rockets 83 San Antonio Spurs 81

Spurs suffered their fourth loss in six games, which also Tracy McGRADY returning to the Rockets from injury.

If anyone recall, it was this encounter back in November that Luis SCOLA launch himself in the NBA. But tonight he could not repeat that kind of performance instead manage to post 6 points, 6 rebounds & 1 steal.
Manu GINOBILI had a good game from the bench with 21 points, 5 rebounds & 4 assists. Fabricio OBERTO had only manage to post 2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.

Chicago Bulls 97 Detroit Pistons 81

The Bulls remained undefeated against the Pistons this season thanks to some superb performance from Ben GORDON and Andres NOCIONI.

Chapu was the top performer in the starting line up in which he posted 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.

Meanwhile Walter HERRMANN was given another odd 6 plus of time play in which he manage to post just 1 point only.

Philadelphia 76ers 99 Toronto Raptors 95

Another no point show from Carlos DELFINO as he only had 3 rebounds & 2 assists to his credit.

Tennis - Australian Open

End of the road for Argentina at the Australian Open as both Juan MONACO and David NALBANDIAN went out in the third round.

Despite taking the first set 6-3, MONACO was not able to keep the momentum going as 13th seed Tomas BERDYCH from the Czech Rep prevailed in the next three sets 6-3, 7-6 & 6-2.

David NALBANDIAN virtually had no answer in his match against Spaniard Juan Carlos FERRERO as he lost 1-6, 2-6 & 3-6.
The lack of confidence from NALBANDIAN was well displayed when he failed to convert two simple overheads in the final game of the match.

Well, looks like we'll just have to look forward towards Roland Garros.

NBA News - Just A Bad Day

San Antonio Spurs 88 Cleveland Cavaliers 90

The repeat of last year final did finished in almost the same way as it did today. If anyone remembered, it was Manu GINOBILI game high performance in Game 4 that won it for Spurs.

Well today it could have almost been the same script, Manu was the game high performer with 31 points but still failing to hit the last shot in the dying the seconds, allowed King James & the Cavs to smile this time. Manu also posted 4 rebounds, 4 assists & 2 steals.

Fabricio OBERTO did not manage to score any points but had 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals & 1 block shot to his credit.

Chicago Bulls 111 Golden State Warrior 119

Despite coming from the bench to post 29 points, Andres NOCIONI and the Bulls still fell short against the Warriors.

"The season's not going well and everything looks bad right now,'' NOCIONI said.

This result will definitely make the Bulls challenge for a trip to the play off even more tougher and I wouldn't want to imagine that, at least for Chapu sake. He also posted 6 rebounds, 2 assists & 1 block shot.

Detroit Pistons 93 Sacramento Kings 100

Pistons fell at home, with Walter HERRMANN posting no points and three rebounds in about 4:36 of time play.

Toronto Raptors 89 Atlanta Hawks 78

Carlos DELFINO was not able to repeat his great run of form today as he finished off with no points instead of 4 rebounds & 1 assist.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Checho wants Roman, Masche and Micho

A couple of days after his appointment to manage the Olympic team was made public, Sergio BATISTA decided to let everyone know what his choice of 3 over-aged players will be for Beijing 2008.

His first choice, Juan Roman RIQUELME, was revealed earlier this week. The Boca Juniors play-maker has already said that playing in the Olympics is one of his dreams, so you can be sure he'll be wearing the coveted Number 10 albiceleste shirt.

But BATISTA (nicknamed CHECHO) didn't stop there. He has revealed that he would love to take Liverpool's Javier MASCHERANO and Bayern Munich's Martin "Micho" DEMICHELIS as the other two over-aged members of the squad.

That kills the mystery before it even started.

No farewell for Pupi ZANETTI, Pato ABBONDANZIERI, Juan Sebastián VERON or Hernán CRESPO. No chance for TEVEZ to repeat the historic performance he showed in Athens, 4 years ago.

He'll wisely pick the back-bone of the senior national team by bringing on-form DEMICHELIS to play in the centre of the defense, road-runner MASCHERANO to chase every opposing "enganche" in the heart of the field and play-maker RIQUELME to tear rival defenses apart with his through passes and fierce long-range shots.

BATISTA knows he won't be short of talent to surround these three players and he's got plenty of options in almost every position.

BATISTA has 3 choices written in stone. He now needs to pick the other 15 players that will formed the squad and (according to what he said in a TV interview) those players need to be born in 1985 or after (now I'm not sure of the exact day of 1985 that will set the limit).

He's mentioned the names of MESSI, AGÜERO, BANEGA, GAGO and HIGUAIN, but we'll see who are the chosen ones in the end. One thing is for sure, BATISTA has a great array of talented players already established in Europe or in the domestic league at his disposal.

He has what manager say: "A beautiful problem" in having to pick just 15 players from a batch in which he can pick virtually any player from the last two Youth World Cup Champion squads (the 2005 and 2007 U20's). I'm guessing BATISTA is quite happy with his problems!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Juan & David Through To Round 3

It’s Day 4 at the Australian Open and another Albiceleste bid farewell after a painful exit while two more will carry on the torch.

As Seba mentioned in the comment section from our previous article, Juan MONACO will advance to the next round after defeating American Amer DELIC 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 6-7 & 8-6.
While David NALBANDIAN also won his tie after surviving an early scare from Peter LUCZAK. The local boy started the game strongly before securing the first break point to take the first set 6-4.
But NALBANDIAN with all his experience prevail at the end as the Aussie faded way as he match went on by winning the next three sets 7-5, 6-4 & 6-1.
But it was pretty unfortunate for Juan Martin DEL POTRO as he had to retire from the match against David FERRER after the second set. Up till then, the Spaniard was leading 6-3, 6-4 before DEL POTRO approach the umpire to say he couldn’t continue.

So what can we expect in the third round?

David NALBANDIAN will come up against Spain’s Juan Carlos FERRERO in which previous meeting between both of them ties at 2-2.

While Juan MONACO will face Tomas BERDYCH from the Czech Rep in a match that will see both of them playing against each other for the first time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NBA News - The Comeback & Career High

Miami Heat 96 Chicago Bulls 126

First of to all to Azrael and Halley, you’ve got nothing to worry about Andres NOCIONI as he was in back in the Bulls line up for this game. And let me tell, what a comeback it was for him.
Surprisingly after needed to help off the court, Chapu did not show any sign of side effects of that injury as he posted 20 points tonight.

"I feel much better after I loosened up a little bit," NOCIONI said. "It's going to hurt tomorrow but there's nothing broke and I'm going to be ready for the next game."

He eventually finished of the game with 4 rebounds & 2 assists as well.

Toronto Raptors 116 Sacramento Kings 91

Chris BOSH may have stole the show among the starters but on the bench Carlos DELFINO was the star of the night.

It was an incredible performance from Carlitos as he went on to post a career high of 26 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists & 4 steals.

Calleri's Up & Down

It has been miserable day for the Albiceleste representative in Day 3 of the Australian Open. Blame it on the surface, I supposed!!!

Agustin CALLERI had a black & white day as he lost in the singles event to Stefan KOUBEK of Austria 3-6, 6-7 & 6-7. He did manage to redeem himself in the men’s double event, alongside Juan Pablo BRZEZICKI, as they defeated the pairing of John ISNER (USA) & Ivo KARLOVIC (CRO) 7-6 & 6-3.

Here are other results of the day.

Men’s Double

Jose ACASUSO/Sergio ROITMAN lost to Werner ESCHAUER(AUT)/Florian MAYER(GER) 4-6 & 4-6

Maximo GONZALEZ/Juan MONACO lost to Bob/Mike BRYAN (USA) 3-6 & 2-6

In Day 4, David NALBANDIAN will once again face the crowd as he is up against another Aussie, this time Peter LUCZAK.

Juan Martin DEL POTRO is expected to face a tough encounter against the experienced Spaniard David FERRER.

The other fixture of the day will see Juan MONACO taking on Amer DELIC from the USA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NBA News - Carlos Back In Detroit

Chicago Bulls 88 Orlando Magic 102

Andres NOCIONI left the game with a bruised hip in the third quarter after flipping over Keith BOGANS. But not before posting 6 points, 2 rebounds & 2 assists.

Detroit Pistons 103 Toronto Raptors 89

Despite this defeat, Carlos DELFINO gave a first half performance including a buzzer beating lay-up to remind everyone in Auburn Hills that he use to be a Pistons.

“ This is where I had the best years of my career, so it is always nice to come back to this arena and play well," DELFINO said. "When we are making shots, we're good. In the second half, we didn't make shots and just fell down."

He did not score in the second half and finished off the game with 14 points, 2 rebounds & 1 steal.

On the other end, Walter HERRMANN only came in towards the last 2:15 minutes of the game and manage posted 2 points & 1 steal.

Houston Rockets 107 Philadelphia 76ers 111

A spirited comeback by the Sixers, who were down by 16 points in the second half. Luis SCOLA posted 10 points, 6 rebounds & 3 assists.

Batista: "I want to bring Roman and the best to Beijing"

Even if I hate them, let's do some maths.

RIQUELME said "I want to play in the Olympics"


GRONDONA said: "BATISTA will manage the Olympic team"


BATISTA said: "I want to take Roman and the best to Beijing 2008"


Argentina will immediately become hot favourite to defend the gold medal.

I like this equation and I hope the outcome will be as promising as this prospect of a great team that we could have in the Olympics.

Sergio "Checho" BATISTA, a great central midfielder in his playing times, looks to be really motivated heading to his first major tournament in charge of a national team (at any level).

He said in Olé, "I want to go to the Games with Roman, MESSI and I want to bring the best possible players. It's a unique opportunity to me and I know I have a group of very exciting players to build this team and I can even pick 3 over-aged stars"

I said yesterday that a friendly against Guatemala in Los Angeles could be in the makings. The news as of today indicate that it could be played by U23 players and BATISTA will be in charge of that team. There will be a meeting between BATISTA and GRONDONA later today to talk about this particular friendly and the players that could be called up. It'll be a FIFA date so, in theory, BATISTA could call up any player he wants and the clubs won't be able to keep their players from joining the national team.

Now here's a very funny situation. GRONDONA said BASILE won't coach at the Olympics because he's got WC Qualifying matches at the same time. I didn't check yesterday as I, mistakingly trusted GRONDONA -that's not a thing to do, believe me-. But having a look at the schedule, Argentina WILL NOT play WCQ matches while the Olympics are on!

Argentina will face Ecuador and Brazil in June, the Olympics are in August and then the matches against Paraguay and Peru will be in September.

So? No barriers there if BATISTA wants to bring the best players he can. But what is the real reason why BASILE is not going to China? That's another question.

These are all good news in my eyes. The Olympics are such a big deal to me and I'm happy to see players and managers are giving it the importance it should have.

We'll see who's on board and who'll say no to China, but on paper, we are on to have a lot of fun watching our team in Beijing.

David Sees Through

There was more despair rather than excitement for the Albiceleste army in Day 2 of the Australian Open.
At least our main contender, David NALBADIAN did not see much trouble in his encounter against Oz representative Robert SMEETS. He manages to pull of a convincing win in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 & 7-6.

Juan Martin DEL POTRO also had an easy win against Santiago VENTURA from Spain 6-3, 6-1 & 6-3.

The other winner of the day is Juan MONACO who defeated fellow compatriot Carlos BERLOCQ 7-6, 7-5 & 7-1

As for the rest, it was the end of the road for them. Here are the results

Men’s Single

Mariano ZABALETA lost to Peter LUCZAK (AUS) 1-6, 7-6, 3-6 & 4-6
Sergio ROITMAN lost Denis GREMELMAYR (GER) 1-6, 6-0, 4-6 & 5-7

Women’s Single

Clarisa FERNANDEZ lost to Alize CORNET (FRA) 3-6 & 3-6
Gisela DULKO lost to Caroline WOZNIACKI (DEN) 1-6 & 1-6
Ma. Emilia SALERNI lost to Mariya KORYTTSEVA (UKR) 2-6 & 3-6

Currently, Diego HARTFIELD is in action at the Rod Lever Arena against Roger FEDERER. Looks like El Gato Hartfield is having a very tough time, as he is down 0-5 in the first set.

Monday, January 14, 2008

NBA News - Manu's 4th Quarter Blitz

San Antonio Spurs 89 Philadelphia 76ers 82

I still remember viewing the update scores on the NBA official website in which in the third quarter, Manu GINOBILI had only scored 6 points. All of them were from free throws.
The 76ers were up 65-64 after the third quarter in which San Antonio Spurs were looking pretty disastrous. GINOBILI hit four 3-pointers, his only field goals of the entire game, in the last quarter to help the Spurs pull away.

Eventually from a low scorer during the first three quarter, he went to finish as Spurs top performer with 20 points.

Another splendid effort from Spur’s super sub as he also posted 4 rebounds & 5 assists.

Fabricio OBERTO defensive duty also played some part in Spur’s brilliant revival. He manage to post 6 points, 4 rebounds & an assist.

Beijing 2008, a golden dream for Roman

First of all, happy new year to all of you!

After a weekend full or Argentine goals all over the place (very well covered by John in a previous post), the news regarding our football national teams have Coco BASILE and Juan Roman RIQUELME under the spotlight.

A few days ago, Juan Roman RIQUELME confessed his goals for 2008 are "to win another Copa Libertadores with Boca and to play in the Olympics. I have played in every major tournament a footballer can play. I'm only missing the Olympics and I dream of playing there. I don't know if I'm going to be called up to play there because I don't even know who the manager of that team is going to be, but I'll prepare myself to be there".

Well...the answer to that question Roman was asking himself is already known. Julio GRONDONA, the AFA president, have announced today that Sergio BATISTA will be the boss of the Argentina Olympic team in Beijing 2008.

Alfio BASILE won't go to China because there will be activity for Argentina in the World Cup Qualifiers (at the same time the Olympic tournament is being played). Sergio BATISTA, newly appointed U20 manager, will be the one in charge and will have to decide which are going to be the 3 senior players that will join the group of U23 players the other side of the Great Wall.

There is no doubt that the former Diego MARADONA's team-mate in Mexico 86 will have a handful of talented players to go on a mission to defend the gold medal won by Carlos TEVEZ and company four years ago in Athens, when the manager was Marcelo BIELSA.

In other news, this week we'll have confirmation on whether Argentina will play a friendly match against Guatemala in February in Los Angeles.

Aussie Grand Slam Underway

The first tennis Grand Slam of the year in underway with some of the first round fixtures being played today. Several representatives from the Albiceleste have completed the first round fixtures today and the result doesn’t sound good at all.
Agustin CALLERI was the only winner of the day after defeating Luis HORNA from Peru, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 & 6-4.

Here are all the other results of the day

Juan Pablo BRZEZICKI lost to Sam WARBURG (USA) 6-2, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 & 4-6
Martin Vassallo ARGUELLO lost to Jesse LEVINE (USA) 1-6, 5-7 & 1-6
Jose ACASUSO lost to Nicolas MAHUT (FRA) 6-7, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 & 5-7
Juan Ignacio CHELA lost to Guillermo Garcia LOPES (ESP) 4-6, 2-6, 6-1 & 2-6

In Day 2 of the competition, perhaps the most anticipated encounter will be when Diego HARTFIELD takes on non-other than World No.1 Roger FEDERER. Is there any chance for HARTFIELD to create the biggest upset in the history of the Australian Open?

The one player that is most likely to be a contender here from Argentina, David NALBANDIAN will take on local boy Robert SMEETS. I don’t see much trouble from David expect that for the crowd getting behind their Aussies.

There will also be an Argentinean clash between Juan MONACO and Carlos BERLOCQ.

Meanwhile in the women’s single, our best hope Gisela DULKO will start her campaign against Caroline WOZNIACKI from Denmark

Here are the rest of the fixtures

Mariano ZABALETA vs. Peter LUCZAK (AUS)
Juan Martin DEL POTRO vs. Santiago VENTURA (ESP)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NBA News - Delfino's Power & NYC Shocker

New York Knicks 89 Detroit Pistons 65

Now this is real surprise. For a team that has been so dominant on the road recently, defeating the likes Spurs and Celtics, were crushed tonight by the Knicks. Wow!!!

What’s more surprising is that knowing coach Flip SAUNDERS over relying on his starters, Walter HERRMANN was given 15 minutes plus of time play. He manages to post 2 points, 3 rebounds & an assist.

Houston Rockets 82 New Orleans Hornets 87

Luis SCOLA was unable to continue his great run of form from recent games but still was given more prominent role in the power forward role by coach Rick ADELMAN.
He finished off the night with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist & 2 steal.

Atlanta Hawks 105 Chicago Bulls 85

I guess the flu spreading from the Bulls dressing room must have been too much for them to handle in this game.
Despite being the best performer in starting line up, Andres NOCIONI’s 20 points was still not good enough to help the Bulls in this game.

H also posted 5 rebounds, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Toronto Raptors 116 Portland Trail Blazers 109

Despite the big scoring effort from Jose CALDERON, Anthony PARKER & Chris BOSH in the match that went into double over time, contribution from then bench can never be ignored.

Carlos DELFINO was once again coach Sam MITCHELL crucial performer when called upon, as he posted 16 points, 8 rebounds & an assist.

Nothing But Goals

Yeah football is back and what can I say, it was a massive weekend. Now does anyone out there know what does Carlos TEVEZ, Fernando CAVENAGHI, Lisandro LOPEZ and Diego MILITO have in common? Well they were all double scorer for their respective clubs.

English Premier League

First of all despite all their trouble over the week, Newcastle did put up a brave a performance in the first half against Man Utd. But certainly as soon as they first goal was scored, it was all going down hill for them.
Carlos TEVEZ was on target twice with second one looking pretty suspicious. Cristiano RONALDO may have scored a hat trick but was all this possible if wasn’t for TEVEZ energetic and industrial performance. Remember he did assist one of RONALDO’s goals.

French Ligue 1
Fernando CAVENAGHI scored twice to help Bordeaux beat Auxerre 4-1 and move them within 6 points of league leader Lyon.

Italian Serie A

Internazionale continued from they left off with a 3-2 win over Siena to maintain their lead at the top of the league. This time however they were no goals from Julio CRUZ.
Instead it was Esteban CAMBIASSO, who scored Inter’s second goal after picking up a pass from Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC at full stretch and flicked the ball beyond the reach of Siena’s goalkeeper Alexander MANNIGER.

The much talk about Alexandre PATO’s debut for AC Milan wasn’t what I like to expect as the Milan side routed Napoli to a 5-2 win, with Roberto SOSA scoring for the Naples side in the 28th minute.

Spanish Primera Liga

A double strike from Diego MILITO was still not good enough for Real Zaragoza as they drew 2-2 with Ariel IBAGAZA’s Real Mallorca.
Sergio Kun AGUERO scored the only in Atletico Madrid win over Valencia. Ever BANEGA made his debut for Valencia when he came on from the bench in the 47th minute.

Portuguese Liga
FC Porto hammered Sporting Braga 4-0 with couple of strikes from Lisandro LOPEZ and one from Ernesto FARIAS. Lucho GONZALEZ was in the starting line up with both Mario BOLATTI and Mariano GONZALEZ were second half substitutes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

NBA News - Vamos Scola & Chapu

Minnesota Timberwolves 82 Houston Rockets 113

Slowly but surely the Rockets are beginning to learn that they can carry on without Tracy McGRADY as he took another night off. YAO Ming barely had much of the responsibility on his shoulder to muscle this team together. So where does all that energy comes from? Luis SCOLA?

SCOLA had a game high 22 points as the Rockets won their seventh game without T-Mac availability.
SCOLA is the fifth different player to lead the Rockets in scoring while McGRADY has been sidelined. An established star in the European League, but a rookie in the NBA, he has reached double figures in seven of Houston's last 11 games.

"I think I'm working hard and I'm getting better little by little,'' SCOLA said. "I'm getting used to the differences between here and where I come from.'' He finished off with 9 rebounds, 5 assists & 1 steal.

New York Knicks 90 Toronto Raptors 99

Another quite night from Carlos DELFINO as failed to follow up with his previous great performance. He was only action for around 11 minutes and posted 2 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

Philidelphia 76ers 97 Chicago Bulls 100

The Bulls rallied back from a 18 points deficit and much of it is thanks to the never give up attitude from Andres NOCIONI.

Despite playing with joint sore and suffering from flu-like symptoms, he still had enough energy to help by scoring a game high 26 points.

“For three days it (flu) was bad, but I felt much better (Friday) and had more energy,'' NOCIONI said. "I really wanted to help my team win.''
There was also praised from the Bulls interim coach Jim BOYLAN
“ We got great performances from NOCIONI ,'' BOYLAN said. "He did a really good job defensively on IGUODALA. That was a big part of the win.''

Chapu finished off with also 7 rebounds, 4 assists & 2 block shots.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Forgotten Names

Football is almost back to normal business and I can't really wait for that. Surely there's gonna be plenty of action to look forward this coming weekend.

Ever BANEGA could make his debut for Valencia against KUN, MAXI & Atletico Madrid. The Albiceleste Army at Inter will resume their mission at the top of Serie A against Siena. One of my dream for this coming weekend is to see all they hype about this PATO at AC Milan being shattered by Ezequiel LEVAZZI & Napoli. What do you guys think?

Now for this moment I'm going to pay tribute to some forgotten names that I believe we haven't mentioned in our blog or heard much from them in a while. It was in the Spanish King Cup match between Mallorca and Real Madrid. Though it was a Venezuelan who stole the show with the winning goal for Mallorca but the two other goals were greater in my opinion.

Mallorca being the home team strike first courtesy of corner from Borja VALERO who found Oscar TREJO. He calmly control the ball with his chest and then hammered home the goal.
Then came another one this it was Real's response. An inside pass from Wesley SNEIJDER for Gonzalo HIGUAIN and he strike it with a bullet volley to level the score.

But now my real concern is that does Coco BASILE is paying attention to all this since this two could give some option in Argentina's future assignment. Only God knows.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some Albiceleste News

Who is Emanuel Villa?

Now a lot of news has been published in perhaps every daily in the world about this player. As of now, nothing much that we’ve heard about him before this. Though the January transfer is still in the early stage, so far this has been the most exciting transfer to date.

Derby County’s manager Paul JEWELL is pretty much excited about this signing, striker Emanuel VILLA.

I've seen him play and his reputation in South America is very high,” He told the club's Web site. "His attributes give me no doubt he'll adapt to the English game quickly."

The 25-year-old signed a three-and-a-half-year deal worth £ 2 million from Mexican side UAG Tecos, on Friday and could most likely make his Ram's debut this coming weekend clash against Wigan.

As a result Tecos manager, who is non other than Cesar Luis MENOTTI was furious about the deal that he has decided to quit his job at the club.

Castroman signs with Boca

Boca Juniors are already rebuilding for the new season, and their latest acquisition Lucas CASTROMAN explained to the press that moving to Argentina's most popular club was a dream come true.

"Today I am at the team where I always dreamed to be as a youngster,"affirmed ex-Lazio player, who on Tuesday commenced training with his new club at Casa Amarilla, La Boca, Buenos Aires.

CASTROMAN was signed from Club America, Mexico.

Volley Boys failed on Olympics birth

The national men’s volleyball team failed to book an automatic birth for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after losing to Venezuela 25-22, 22-25, 23-25 & 16-25.

Argentina's volleyball squad has participated in the last six Olympics and its best finish was the bronze medal in South Korea in 1988. Argentina can still reach the Beijing Games, depending on the outcome of a qualifying tournament to be held in the next two months in Portugal.

Heinze out for five weeks

Real Madrid’s defender Gabriel HEINZE is out for five weeks after suffering a torn hamstring.

NBA News - Bench Power

Dallas Mavericks 102 Detroit Pistons 86

The Pistons suffered they're second successive defeat at the hand of the same team. Nothing to worry much in the Eastern Conference because even the Celtics loss too.

But what I believe the positive aspect of this game was Walter HERRMANN performance as a team player. Lets face it we all know that coach Flip SAUNDERS often rely plenty from his starting team have rarely dig deep on his reserve.

Though only a mere 3 points to his credit but look at the other stat. HERRMANN was given 17 minutes of time play and he had a team high of 4 assists & 2 rebounds. Something that SAUNDERS should take notice when they face San Antonio Spurs in their next game.

New York Knicks 92 Houston Rockets 101

Forget about Isiah THOMAS ejection, the real deal for me in this game was the battle for time play in the power forward position. Again the figures don't lie, unless coach Rick ADELMAN think otherwise.
Luis SCOLA had a big night in offense and as Chuck HAYES was in defense with a game high 13 rebounds.

Luis stepped up huge,'' Rockets coach ADELMAN said. "He was the one that was going to be open because they were leaving him to go help on YAO. And he made the shots and he can get to the basket.''

To finish off, SCOLA posted 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists & 2 steals.

Toronto Raptors 109 Philidelphia 76ers 96

Carlos DELFINO was the top performer from the bench for the Raptors, as they manage to erase that painful defeat at the hands of Cleveland Cavaliers a few nights ago.
DELFINO finished off the game with 12 points but also contributed 5 rebounds, 3 assists & 1 steal.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Recognition For Pichot & Pumas

The Rugby Writer's annual awards dinner paid tribute to Agustin PICHOT in acknowledging his contribution for Argentina's rugby.

Just click on the following link below which is an article from Britain's Telegraph.;jsessionid=AJVXZOEH3ZWXLQFIQMFCFF4AVCBQYIV0?xml=/sport/2008/01/08/srmick108.xml&posted=true&_requestid=208747

A further note on this article is the on going debate on the future of Argentina's rugby. Still at this moment, it remains to be seen whether we will get a proper competition in the near future.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

NBA News - Manu's Back!!!

The NBA regular season was packed with plenty of action from the Tall Albiceleste. So lets take a look one at a time shall we.

Houston Rockets 103 New York Knicks 91

Luis SCOLA has often been having a roller coaster ride on his form in the NBA. In terms of time play Chuck HAYES out played him but was he good enough to contribute points for the team. Absolutely not!!!

SCOLA despite only less than 15 minutes as compared to HAYES 36 minutes of action, posted 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist & 1 steal.

Chicago Bulls 94 Sacramento Kings 93

The Bulls got a strong performance from Andres NOCIONI. With Luol DENG sitting out because of left Achilles' tendinitis, NOCIONI started and rewarded the Bulls with a game high 26 points and five rebounds.
He scored 13 in the first five minutes and never slowed down, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers and going 7-of-10 overall from the field.

It was a big improvement over the previous five games, when NOCIONI hit just 17-of-49 shots.

"One thing I noticed was Noce was rebounding well tonight,'' interim coach Jim BOYLAN said. "If you watch his game, usually if he is rebounding, he is into the flow of the game.''

Eventually he also finished off the 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block shot & 1 steal.

Toronto Raptors 90 Cleveland Cavaliers 93

A low contribution from Carlos DELFINO as he only posted 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist & 1 steals.

Los Angeles Clippers 82 San Antonio Spurs 88

Many would agree with me that Spurs didn’t look like themselves without Manu GINOBILI. This was evident during the last few games when they were lacking to kind of intensity they needed from the bench on which only Manu can provide.
Manu was back for San Antonio after missing five games with a sprained left index finger, scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. He had his hand wrapped to protect his injured finger

He eventually also finished off with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal & 1 block shot.

Fabricio OBERTO was also on the bench with 2 points, 2 rebounds & 1 assist.

Only Kun & Ever

Welcome 2008!!! Its good to be back into action mode after a long lay off from many things.

Certainly it has been another boring weekend though I must say the English FA Cup can create some surprise on certain occasions.

Carlos TEVEZ was out so the only action here came from Javier MASCHERANO was on the bench and replaced Xabi ALONSO in the 74th minute as Liverpool drew 1-1 with Luton Town.

By the way, it seems Javier is on Juventus wanted list. With the on going saga between Rafael BENITEZ and the Liverpool owners yet to be resolve (partially due to the transfer fee involving Javier’s permanent stay in Anfield), the Turin side are willing to match the amount asked by MSI Group.

Now that La Liga has just resume, Kun AGUERO was the only Albiceleste scorer in Spain, as Atlético Madrid defeats Deportivo La Coruña 3-0 away.

Kun, returning after serving a suspension, picked the ball up in the penalty area and fired into the bottom-right corner of the net from 12 yards in the 52nd minute.

Alongside him, Maxi RODRIGUEZ was also in the starting line up and Fabricio COLOCCINI was also a starter for Deportivo.

Another important news is that Ever BANEGA is now a Valencia player. He was on the stand watching his new teammates took on Levante at the Mestalla Stadium.