Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
Argentina is an undeniably macho society.
Men wolf-whistle, stare and call out comments at pretty much any female passing. Women generally stay at home - granted this is changing, but we are still looking at 1950s Britain as a comparison - and they earn less.
Oddly, for British minds at least, the Samson effect remains strong in this country with long wet-look hair, preferably in a curly perm or prize mullet, being a sign of machoism and virility. Look at Ariel Ortega. There are also other things on the football field that can make a stiff upper lip quiver. They hug and jump on each other at moments that elsewhere would seem mildly inappropriate.
But to cry? Well, Gazza did it once and England never forgot. Here, dry eyes are deemed almost a detachment from the passion of Argentine football. Maradona did it, and they loved him for it.
The emotion at Boca Juniors' Bombonera stadium is notoriously intense. So when a young Boca team - Palermo, Riquleme et al saved for tonight's Libertadores match - went up against an imploding Racing, there were a couple of debuts.
Ricardo 'Tito' Noir, however stole the show. The young 19-year-old, unknown to many spectators, came on with Boca Juniors drawing 1-1. He immediately took control of the game, getting involved with nearly every attack, and then four minutes into extra time – Gooooolaaazzzoooo. The crowd were ecstatic. Noir wept. What a debut. He was carried off on the shoulders of his team-mates, still crying. Well, wouldn't you have done?
Gooooolaaazzzoooo: Noir scores, and then weeps
It leaves Boca third in a wide-open title race. Estudiantes stay top; River, whose fans still haven't forgiven them for losing the Superclasico or the Copa Libertadores game against San Lorenzo, are in second after lacklustre performances.But within six points are six teams including Independiente, Velez and San Lorenzo. It's going to be an exciting finish.
Tonight, attention turns again from country to continent as Boca Juniors face Atlas in Mexico, needing a win or a 3-3 draw, while San Lorenzo travel to the heights of Quito to play Liga needing a 2-2 draw or a win. The Argentinians will be hoping to display manly, hairy pride, rather than weeping tears of disappointment.
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