Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pipita smokes Malaga. Los Pumas lost to France

He's not in the squad to face Scotland in about 10 days, but Gonzalo HIGUAIN is making sure he is doing everything he can to convince Diego MARADONA that he should get a chance and play for Argentina.

The former River Plate striker was on fire on Saturday as he scored 4 goals to help Real Madrid defeat Malaga 4-3.

The Whites were always trailing and they came from behind to equalise three times, before HIGUAIN added a fourth to give them the lead. That fourth goal proved to be the last in the game and Real Madrid are still very close from league-leaders FC Barcelona (by the way, the Catalan giants defeated Valladolid 6-0 with 4 goals from Samuel ETO'O -two of them coming from Lionel MESSI's assists-).

I'm sure within the next few hours, John will find the video with HIGUAIN's goals and we'll all be able to see them.


The crowd at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille were thrilled with the result. After all, France managed to defeat the team that knocked them off their feet TWICE in home soil during last year's Rugby World Cup. In fact, the Argentine rugby national team won six out of seven against the French since 2002.

For Los Pumas it was an important test match, especially because it marked day 1 of the After PICHOT era. It was also the international debut for Santiago PHELAN as head coach.

Some key players from the team that managed to finish the World Cup in 3rd place returned to action and were the back-bone of Los Pumas. Players such as Rodrigo RONCERO, Mario LEDESMA, Patricio ALBACETE, the excellent Juan Martín HERNANDEZ and new captain Felipe CONTEPOMI gave Los Pumas quality in every line and a decent chance to play mano-a-mano with almost any team in the world.

Against the French, it turned out to be tête à tête indeed. No tries were scored and Les Bleus ended up winning by a mere 6 points.

It was 12-6 to the home team with Los Pumas pushing until the very end for that try that never arrived.

A few interesting things were the great performances from prop Juan Pablo ORLANDI and 25-years-old scrum-half Nicolás VERGALLO, who had to fill in PICHOT's shoes and did a great job.

Felipe CONTEPOMI scored all of Los Pumas 6 points, while Benoit BABY (3) and David SKRELA (9 -product of 2 penalties and 1 drop-) scored for France.

Next stop in Los Pumas tour of Europe will come next weekend when the Argentines will face Italy in Turin, before they continue with a trip to Dublin to face Ireland in two weeks.


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