South America wrap: Man City eye River star Ezequiel Cirigliano
Charlie Reynolds looks back at another eventful week in South American football - both on and off the pitch
Manchester City eye River Plate starlet
Manchester City have reportedly been showing an interest in snapping up River Plate’s young defensive midfielder Ezequiel Cirigliano, a player also apparently on Paris Saint-Germain’s radar. The 20-year-old, seen by some as being the heir to Javier Mascherano at the Buenos Aires club, has built on early signs of promise shown during previous seasons to become a key part of River’s side as they attempt to return to the Primera División at the first attempt. City, who invited Cirigliano for a trial in 2010, sent Mancini’s assistant Attilio Lombardi to watch the youngster’s last two games. However, if the Manchester club want to make Cirigliano the fourth Argentine member of their squad they may need a bid of up to €15m (£12m) to prise away one of the club’s most promising talents.
Copa Libertadores gathers pace
Paraguay’s Libertad and Argentina’s Velez Sársfield became the first two sides to book their places in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores this week. The Paraguayans made the most of home advantage to dispatch Mexico’s Cruz Azul 2-0 (3-1 on aggregate) with goals from Jose Ariel Núñez and Víctor Cáceres at the start of each half. Velez had a more nervy route into the next round, despite taking a 2-0 aggregate lead with an early goal, after Luis Mosquera’s 70th-minute goal for Atletico Nacional brought the Colombians back into the tie. However, the Argentines held on to set up a tie with either Bolivar or reigning champions Santos.
Boca and Newell’s tied at the top
Rosario’s Newell’s Old Boys joined Boca Juniors at the top of the Clausura table with an excellent victory over Olimpo. Goals from Víctor Figueroa and Pablo Perez secured a great comeback after they conceded an early goal. Boca’s Nicolás Blandi was at the centre of the action in his side’s game against Rafaela, missing a penalty but then dramatically redeeming himself by snatching a draw with a last minute equaliser. Boca had led through Pablo Mouche but the home side fought back and took the lead in the second half before Blandi’s spectacular 96th minute goal made it 2-2. Elsewhere, manager-less Estudiantes’ miserable run continued with a 2-0 defeat to Racing Club and Tigre kept themselves in the title race with a 4-0 win over Union.
Banfield youngster killed in tragic shooting
One of Argentine club Banfield’s brightest young prospects, Lautaro Bugatto, has died after being shot dead outside his own home. The 20-year-old left-back, on loan at Tristan Suarez, was caught in a police shootout outside his house in a suburb of Buenos Aires. The youngster was accidentally shot by an off-duty policeman attempting to prevent a robbery and died in the early hours of Sunday morning. Bugatto’s family and agent have vehemently criticised the police officer in question for the unnecessary use of his firearm – a sentiment shared by the Justice Minister for Buenos Aires Province, Ricardo Casal. The policeman is currently in custody pending an investigation into the tragedy.
Goal of the week: Boca’s Nicolás Blandi bicycle kick against Rafaela
Blandi’s aforementioned 96th-minute bicycle kick equaliser is this week’s goal of the week. The Boca man earning an unlikely point for his team as well as redemption for himself having earlier missed a penalty.