Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
There were no heroic last-gasp winners. In fact, there were no winners, nor losers, no drawers.
There were no debateable off-side decisions. No controversial quotes in the mixed zone. No handbags. No tension, no drama, no goals, no 219th goal for Palermo. No victorious 300th outing for Gallardo with River. Nothing.
There were a couple of shocking sliding tackles. And there was the sight of Riquelme being tackled by a puddle. Twice. But that was all.
As everyone knows, the Superclásico was rained off, nine minutes in. All that fuss, all those queues, all those 400 dollars, all those rumours and all that pressure, all for nine minutes.
Papers, websites and friends from across the Atlantic spoke of deluges and torrential rainfall, but it wasn’t quite the case.
"The wife will kill me when she sees how wet I got my kit"
Sunday’s rain wasn’t the same downpour that flooded half the city to waist height a month ago, left neighbourhoods without electricity for days, caused a total collapse of public transport, and kicked up one hell of a fuss.
According to the met office, it didn’t rain even half that amount.
It certainly didn’t rain enough to prevent Independiente playing Rosario Central three miles down the road two hours later. It did rain enough however, to start a war of words at Boca. Between the groundsmen.
Up until January, Amadeo Loria was the chief groundsman at Boca. ‘I was proud of my work,’ he told Olé yesterday. ‘The pitch was fine until the [Joaquin] Sabina concert on the 20th January. That ruined it.’
What Loria was getting at was that if he was still in charge, the pitch would have been fine and the game would have been played.
"Throw in the towel? I don't think that'll be enough, mate..."
Loria’s replacement, Hugo Montevidoni, would be shouldering none of the blame for the state of the pitch. ‘The pitch was in an awful state [when I took over]. I don’t know why the guy before me didn’t carry on, I guess the board must have seen something they weren’t happy with,’ before adding that he couldn’t possibly have sorted out the pitch in the time he’s been at the club.
The dispute soon veered into a debate over when the lines should be painted (‘you can’t paint in the rain! I always did it the day before the game’), but there were more pressing issues at hand.
The game has been rescheduled. Boca’s president suggested Wednesday, March 24. It’s a public holiday, it’s this week, brilliant!
Not so, said the government, pointing out that it’s a public holiday because it’s official Day of Memory for the victims of the dictatorship that include 30,000 desaparecidos. Hardly the day for 50,000 fans to be chanting a medley of xenophobic, homophobic, hostile and just plain offensive songs for two hours, no doubt mixed in with a bit of violence before or after the 90 minutes.
Still, despite the rescheduling, we still saw a HISTORIC Superclásico. The last time the fixture was called off was in 1931, and that was down to violence.
"Postponed? But I wore my special hat and poncho..."
Moving on, and as mentioned above, just down the road from the Bombonera, Independiente did play their game, although they didn’t want to.
Visitors Central wanted did want to, but probably wished they hadn’t. Between them, the Red Devils and the Scoundrels tore up the pitch at the Libertadores Stadium, adding to the list of grumpy groundsmen, but both stuck to the form book – Independiente won and stayed top, and Central lost and are still bashfully fluttering their eyelids at relegation.
Elsewhere, Mauro Boselli will be keeping an eye on the British Airways strike to see when he can make it over to the Premier League after another brace for Estudiantes, while coach Fernando Gamboa is also looking for work after being sacked by Chacarita following their defeat to Huracán.
Racing’s star signing already wants to leave after another defeat for the Academy, Vélez earned a point thanks to a blooper from Sebastián Peratta, Alejandro Gomez scored two and earned a red card for his celebration at San Lorenzo while Godoy Cruz stayed within touching distance of the top with a solid win in front of what looked like 200 fans.
This all took place in the shadow of the Superclásico, which now has another week to enjoy the limelight.
Goals, plus proof of the late line painting, here
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