Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
This weekend was the Return of Riquelme. His coach said it was like seeing, as you may have guessed from the above headline, a chick with three breasts (apparently a compliment).
Others called it the Second Coming, despite Juan Román Riquelme already having left and returned to Boca, so technically, after six months out, and if we really have to go down this line of thinking, it was the Third Coming.
Another excitable local journalist suggested it was like when Perón returned to the country in 1973, after living abroad in exile. It was an unfortunate comparison given that when the General did return, his right-wing supporters were waiting for his left-wing supporters and promptly massacred hundreds of them.
For all the metaphors, Román couldn’t have come back at a better time. With the superclásico just around the corner, his return to the team was all that would be needed to give Boca the jump-start that the team had been lacking all season.
And, broadly speaking, for Riquelme it was a success. There was no Hargreavesian early injury. He looked strong and fit, his touch was as perfect as ever, he hit the woodwork from a corner. He set up several decent chances for the front pair of Martín Palermo and Lucas Viatri, he won a freekick with less than a minute on the clock. He was even spotted sprinting!!, pointed out the cynics.
But while Riquelme was head and shoulders above his opponents, he was also head and shoulders above his team mates. 12 matches without finding a style or direction, with no continuity in the side and with results going against them means that the rot may not have set in, but it is spreading. Talented players make mistakes – technical or tactical. The team is in a rut, and Riquelme cannot solve everything.
Despite Boca largely dominating proceedings, Argentinos grabbed two late goals and the points.
Argentions were well organised. They are the current league champions. They were playing Boca, at Boca. They were playing against their former coach. And Riquelme was back in the team.
It was more than enough motivation and reasons for Argentinos to go to the Bombonera and win.
Borghi would soon be given the dreaded ‘backing’ from the board. Again. On Monday, he said that he wasn’t sure he’ll be around to take charge of Boca against River next Tuesday.
There is one coach who certainly won’t be at the superclásico. Ángel Cappa.
After 13 games, including not a win in the last seven, River Plate parted company with their coach.
At first it appeared to have been an agreement from both parties, although it soon transpired that Cappa was in fact sacked. His only defender in the boardroom was the president Daniel Passarella, who couldn’t convince his colleagues.
Having made one decision, they soon had to make another – who shall we bring in?
Predictably, Marcelo Bielsa won the vote. There are two problems with this one, well, 3,000,001 problems. First is that Bielsa may have stepped down as Chile coach, but still has a contract till the end of the year, so he couldn’t have taken over until January, even if he wanted to – which is a big if. The other problem is Bielsa contract, which as suggested seconds ago, is in the $3m region.
Other suggestions were bandied about – from even Passarella appointing himself as coach (he did win the league as River Plate coach), to midfielder Matías Almeyda taking over. The most likely option is Tolo Gallego, who already won the league in 1994 and 2000 with the club.
Either way, after this weekend there is the improbable situation where the superclásico may see two debutant, or at least caretaker coaches, go head to head.
River Plate relegation watch: the game with All Boys was as clear cut a 6-pointer as they come. Win, and River would have been out of the relegation zone. But they lost, are six points adrift and Cappa is out.
Quilmes win watch: The Brewer’s barra brava decided enough was enough after their 13th game without a win and threw stones and rocks at the team bus and players cars after the defeat to Gimnasia.
RESULTS Olimpo 4-0 Huracán, Estudiantes 3-0 Lanús, Gimnasia 1-0 Quilmes, Godoy Cruz 0-0 Newell’s, Racing 2-2 Arsenal, Boca 0-2 Argentinos, San Lorenzo 1-1 Independiente, All Boys 1-0 River, Colón 1-0 Tigre, Banfield 2-3 Vélez.
Latest South American Football News
Riquelme stunner sends Corinthians crashing
Argentine championship results and standings
River Plate fan falls to his death from top tier
Ronaldinho assists inspire Mineiro to victory
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010