There is little wonder that Argentine players are in demand all over the world. Many of them are impact players.
Consider what transpired in Europe, Brazil and the United States this past weekend:
* At least 10 Argentinean players found the back of the net for eight teams. The impressive total included the incomparable Lionel Messi, who converted a hat-trick in Barcelona's 5-4 victory over Deportivo Coruna in Spain's La Liga.
* Thirteen of the 22 starters in Inter Milan's 2-0 victory over Catania on Sunday hailed from Argentina. Catania started eight Argentines, while Inter had five. In the second half, Inter brought on an Argentine, Colombian and Uruguayan as substitutes.
* And not every Argentine player performed heroics. Goalkeeper Sergio Romero was red-carded for a penalty kick in Sampdoria's 2-1 defeat to Parma. and Barca's Javier Mascherano was dismissed for accruing his second yellow card in the 49th minute.
And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Here is a more detailed of their achievements, along with how other Latino players aired around the globe:
Esteban Cambiassio, Diegio Milito, Rodrigo Palacio
In that game that boasted 13 Argentines as starters, a pair of countrymen set up the first goal in the 28th minute in Inter Milan's 2-0 win over Catania. Milito sent the ball to Cambiassio, who crossed it to the back post to Antonio Cassano, who headed it home. Palacio volleyed home the ball in the 85th minute, his first goal with Inter.
Pablo Osvaldo, Erik Lamela
Those two Argentines played key roles to help AS Roma overcame a two-goal deficit to register a 4-2 triumph over Genoa. After Francesco Totti put in a penalty kick to slice the lead in half in the 28th minute, Osvaldo took center stage. He connected on the equalizer in the 44th minute before scoring the go-ahead goal off a header in the 55th minute. Lamela, a midfielder, tallied an insurance goal with seven minutes left.
Another Argentine, Rodriguez connected for the equalizer off a corner kick for visiting Fiorentina in its 1-1 tie at Chievo.
Caceres, a Uruguayan, came off the bench to score in the 80th minute to start Juventus to a 2-0 win over Napoli, extending its unbeaten league streak to an amazing 47 matches. Caceres, who returned from World Cup qualifying in South America Friday, came on for the injured Kwadwo Asamoah in the second half, headed an Andrea Pirlo corner kick from six yards. Caceres also banged a free kick off the crossbar.
Romero received a red card as he was called for a penalty kick in the 36th minute of Sampdoria's 2-1 loss to Parma. The Argentine goalkeeper upended Jonathan Biabiny, who was goal bound. Brazilian Amauri converted the penalty kick, one of his two goals.
Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano
In one wild affair, Lionel Messi celebrated the birth of his son with his 15th hat-trick in La Liga in Barcelona's 5-4 win at Deportivo Coruna. Messi, who has scored 71 goals for Barca and Argentina this year, is four shy of the world record set by Brazilian legend Pele in 1959. He also has 11 goals in eight league encounters this season. After Barca grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by Jordi Alba (third minute) and Tello (eighth minute) before Messi tallied in the 18th, 43rd and 77th minutes. Deportivo, however, refused to go away as Pizzi converted a penalty in the 26th minute before adding his second one in the 47th, sandwiched around Alex Bergantinos's goal in the 37th minute. Alba wound up scoring for both sides as he put in an own goal 11 minutes from time. Mascherano did not help matters for Barcelona by getting his marching orders early in the second half.
The Colombian international continued his scoring magic with his ninth goal of the season to give Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad in the rain, as the visitors kept pace with Barca atop the league. Falcao curled a free kick over the top of a defensive wall in the 90th minute. It was the first time Atletico won seven consecutive La Liga matches since the 1991-92 season.
Gonzalo Higuain, Gustavo Cabral
Higuain, an Argentine, started Real Madrid on its way to a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo with an 12th-minute goal. Cristiano Ronaldo gave the hosts some breathing room by converting a 68th-minute penalty kick. Higuain's goal came off a left-wing shot that looked more like a cross, which settled into the far right corner. Ronaldo's PK was set up when another Argentine, Cabral, fouled Mesut Ozil in the penalty area. Still, recovering from a rocky start to the season, Real remained eight points behind the leaders.
On loan from Rubin Kazan (Russia), the Paraguayan could not have been more dramatic as he snapped a 2-2 deadlock with a 90th-minute header, to lift Valencia to a 3-2 home win over Athletic Bilboa.
Mata did not allow not being called up to the Spanish National Team affect his play as he struck twice in three minutes to power Chelsea over host Tottenham, 4-2, and manager Andre Villas-Boas, who wanted to exact some revenge on his former English Premier League team. Mata, who was signed by Villas-Boas last season, took advantage of a poor William Gallas clearance in the 66th minute, and broke a 2-2 tie off an Eden Hazard pass in the 69th minute. He has six goals this season.
"I don't know [whether anyone was watching from Spain]," Mata was quoted by reporters. "I just try to improve with every Chelsea game I play. I just wanted to do my best for my team, and in this moment I am feeling really well."
The Argentine's stoppage-time pass set up Edin Dzeko's second goal in the final 10 minutes to boost 10-man Manchester City to a 2-1 win over home-team West Bromwich Albion.
Franco di Santo
Di Santo helped set up Wigan Athletic's lone goal in the 69th minute in its 2-1 loss at Swansea City. The Argentine carried the ball down the left flank before crossed it across the penalty area. Arouna Kone, at the back post, nodded it down to James McCarthy, who scuffed a shot into the air. Emmerson Boyce got ahold of the ball, and with his back to the net, looped it into the corner.
Barcos, an Argentinean, recorded a second-half brace to give Palmeiras a 2-0 win over Cruzeiro.
Oscar Boniek Garcia
The Honduran struck for the game-winner in the 71st minute to help lift the Houston Dynamo into the Major League Soccer playoffs in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. With the score tied at 1-1, Boniek Garcia finished a field-length counterattack as he fired a shot off the hands of goalkeeper Zac MacMath and into the net.
Rivero tallied the Colorado Rapids' first goal in their 2-0 away win over Chivas USA. The Argentine took advantage of a bobble by goalkeeper Tim Melia to score in the 17th minute.
Jairo Arrieta, Federico Higuain
Arrieta, a Costa Rican, gave the Columbus Crew a 2-1 lead late in the opening half of its 3-2 stoppage-time loss at D.C. United. He worked a give-and-go with Higuain, an Argentine, before firing banking in an 18-yard shot off the right post.
Fredy Montero, Blas Perez
Montero, a Colombian, set up two goals in the Seattle Sounders' 3-1 victory over FC Dallas. Perez, a Panamanian international scored Dallas' lone goal in the 40th minute.
Chavez found the back of the net in the 61st minute for the San Jose Earthquakes in their 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy. Ramiro Corrales faked taking a touch on a 25-yard free kick and the Honduran launched a shot past the defensive wall and into the net.
Michael Lewis has covered USA soccer for four decades. He is the editor of BigAppleSoccer.com and can be reached at SoccerWriter516@aol.com or via twitter at @soccerwriter.
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