This weekend, soccer fans in Latin America and Europe were treated to three ‘Superclasicos’. In each of the three matches, the team who was above their rival in the league standings ended up winning. In addition, another commonality that the games had in common was the fact that the losing team failed to capitalize on the possession and scoring opportunities they controlled during the game.
The Mexican superclasico was played on Saturday as Chivas de Guadalajara sought to salvage a terrible season by beating Club America. Chivas came into the game 15th with eight points in the Liga MX Apertura 2013 tournament, while America were the leaders on 28 points. With a win and some help, they could have mathematically qualify for the playoffs.
America dominated in the first half as they controlled ball possession and had several scoring opportunities which were saved. America took early advantage of the fact that left back Giovani Hernandez failed to track back, allowing America to attack through the right side unimpeded.
In the second half as Chivas started to control more of the game, America went ahead and took the lead as substitute Ruebens Sambueza sent in a a perfectly placed pass which Raul Jimenez headed in. Sambueza and Jimenez connected again a few minutes later, but this time Jimenez served as provider as he sent in a low-lying cross that Luis Gabriel Rey put away for the eventual 2-0 America win.
The victory ensured qualification for America into the Apertura 2013 playoffs. In the end, the storyline of game will be of America being the far superior team at this moment, being able to convert its scoring chances while Chivas were not.
In the Argentinean superclasico, River Plate hosted Boca Juniors in a game where the loser was in a position to realistically forget harboring any illusions of winning the Apertura 2013 title.
It was a game which was largely dominated by River Plate, especially after the first 23 minutes where they were able to create shots on goal but in the end, it was Boca who was more effective in front of net as the goal scored by Emmanuel Gigliotti at the 23rd minute gave Boca the 1-0 win over River at the Estadio Monumental.
River will rue the fact that they were not more efficient with their shots on goal as only four of the 15 shots were on target, with two of those hitting the post in the second half of play as they looked for the equalizer.
Finally, ‘Le Classique’ took place on Sunday in Ligue 1 as Paris Saint-Germain traveled south to the Stade Velodrome to play Olympique Marseille in a game which they won 2-1. PSG scored both goals after having gone down to 10 men because of Thiago Motta seeing red late in the first half.
It is a game which L’OM will rue the fact that it did not attack or press a PSG team who played a man down for an hour but at the same time, PSG actually improved with the inclusion of Adrien Rabiot into the game for Ezequiel Lavezzi after the Motta red card. This change gave PSG better balance, especially in the midfield where they needed it most.