Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Hugs and relief for Riquelme's Boca
As fellow Four Four Two blogger Celso de campos Jr wrote in his excellent post yesterday the Copa Libertadores is a hugely important title for any Latin American team. It is the highlight of any teams, well, it would be no exageration to say, century. In the opening games the Argentine haven't exactly set the field alight (we'll leave that to the current heat wave, oh man it is hot here). Boca's opening game was no exception despite heading into the game with the confidence of a 4-0 whitewash over Argentinos (see below) at the weekend, and pretty much everyone in Argentine football falling over themselves to praise Riquelme as the best player in the league at the moment. Unfortunately against Maracaibo on Wednesday night, he had a particularly lacklustre performance, despite the one male fan who broke through the barriers on to the pitch and gave Riquelme a big hug, before being swiftly removed by the police. Man of the match Battaglia saved face in the last ten minutes of the game with a well earned knock in. Although it will be Mean Vitali's free kick that will be replayed again and again.
Team focus Argentinos Juniors Full name Club Atlético IndependienteWebsite www.argentinosjuniors.com.arFounded August 15 1904Nicknames The Ladybirds (nope, not very masculine) or the Nursery in account of the number of great players who learnt their game here including Diego Maradona (see him play with Argentinos here) and Juan Román Riquelme.Ground The Diego Maradona stadium (they got there first) in the humble La Paternal area in Buenos Aires. It is only a block in size. Manager Néstor GorositoBarra brava A small but noisy band of people from the area. This author has seen them in a full scale riot with shots being fired at them. Well, I say, me, it was actually my poor wife. Titles Not an amazing record, Argentinos are the perennial underachievers, strapped for cash, but with some astute signings. Their greatest year was 1985 when they won both the Copa Libertadores against América de Cali and the Copa Interamericana against the wonderfully named Defence Force of Trinidad and Tobago.Star player The Chilean national player Milovan Mirosevic is currently one of their best players. Useless but quite interesting The club was originally called The Martyrs of Chicago, after eight anarchists hanged after the 1986 Haymarket Riot in Chicago. Answers on a post card?Useless and not very interesting Argentinos Juniors have the record for the longest penalty shootout ever against Racing Club in 1988. Argentinos won after 44 penalties. Actually that is quite interesting. Rivals Not known for their violence Argentinos don't have a particularly strong rivalry, but geographically Vélez Sársfield is the nearest team and always attracts a large crowd.Recent form Argentinos finished in a perfectly respectable fifth in the last season and have traditionally always performed well against the big teams. They did however loose 4-0 last weekend against a resurgent Boca team (see last blog)If they were an English team Newcastle. Nobody really despises them, and they hold a lot of respect despite a fairly empty trophy cabinet.
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