Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
The faithful lined up in their thousands, the expectation was high, the fervour was feverish, but there was no Resurrection this weekend. Not for Boca, not for River, and certainly not for Diego Simeone.
San Lorenzo celebrated their 102nd anniversary last week, and unveiled a new chapel at the club’s training ground in its honour.
Thanks to Lord Aragon, the ciclón have a new place of sanctuary and worship and somewhere to look for inner peace – something they could really do with.
Viggo Mortensen forked out £95,000 for the chapel, once again demonstrating he is one of the most devoted sanloré fans of all, both with the gesture and with his words. ‘We all have faith in the coach and the players, they will turn it around’ declared Aragon.
San Lorenzo promptly lost again, this time at home, this time to Gimnasia, again without scoring themselves, again looking like 11 strangers who already hate each other, and Simeone was gone.
As one columnist pointed out, Diego Simeone needs a rest. He took on his first coaching job half an hour after retiring as a player and in the four years since that day has been in charge of Racing, Estudiantes, River Plate and San Lorenzo.
His next move, undoubtedly, will be to Europe, and he will take a CV with two league titles with him, but his resumé also boasts the worst River side in history, and the worst San Lorenzo season on record.
It will be a giant leap of faith from whichever board hires him.
Sticking to the theme, Hugo Gatti, (the one who said that Iker Casillas’ dip in form this year is because he grew a beard), was also offering his two pesos worth, which truth be told, is hardly worth 2 centavos.
‘God is a Martin Palermo fan,’ believes Gatti, a comment swiftly followed by further evidence that the former Boca goalkeeper should either be sectioned, or has a direct line to the Almighty.
‘If someone else had scored the goal against Peru, it would have been given offside. But it was Martin. And God se hizo el boludo - he played the clown.’
So while the Lord may have had a helping hand in Argentina’s World Cup qualification because he did Palermo a favour and didn’t flag him offside, Palermo’s club could do with some help from above - the pain and suffering that plagues the Bombonera is already of biblical proportions.
Abel Alves looked close to tears as the coach walked off the pitch at half time, as Central had just taken the lead.
That dispair was compounded with rage and a strong desire to throttle his keeper, Javier Garcia, for a walkabout that cost the second goal in the team’s 2-1 defeat.
In the meantime, God’s favourite striker is still unable to score that elusive 219th goal.
In the next game, he’ll have to go in search of that goal, and the side will be looking for redemption, without Riquelme, who argued himself into being sent off. In another show of maturity, Román applauded the referee’s decision.
‘We have hit rock bottom,’ said Palermo afterwards, ignoring the fact that they are second bottom on points with two other sides, so technically they are not the worst side in the country, but almost.
‘We are all to blame for this situation, and the board have to make some big decisions.’ The big decision could be made for them if Abel Alves jumps ship, that is unless the board decide to push him first...
Anything you can do, we can do better, thought River, looking on at the latest episode at Boca. The millionaires lost to Lanús 1-0 and the situation is desperate. So much so, that Ariel Ortega is in line for a recall to the side.
As things stand, River will start next season in the relegation zone. The three-yearly average points system which decides relegation is meant to avoid these kind of situations and help the big teams – the idea being that big teams won’t have three consecutive bad seasons. River, however, are proving that line of thinking wrong.
With Racing’s game with Atlético Tucumán called off due to the rain (yes, it was of biblical proportions), four of the Big Five are in the bottom five of the table (the league one, not the relegation one.)
The only other grande, Independiente, is heading things up at the other end, after a thunderbolt from Lionel Nuñez from outside the area, and heroics from Gabarini in goal.
In equally fine shooting form was Facundo Coria with two strikes from outside the area which sent Argentinos Juniors third.
Godoy Cruz, meanwhile, are quietly going about their business, and defeated Best Squad in the Country Vélez 2-0 at home, despite a midweek playground punch-up between Federico Higuain and Jairo Castillo.
The men from Mendoza are on track to push the Red Devils all the way, which is a relief - not every club is hell bent on having its worst year on record.
All the goals...click to watch
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