BUENOS AIRES - Miracle man Martin Palermo
confounded the critics who see his Boca Juniors days as numbered
by scoring one goal and laying on two more in a much needed
victory on Sunday.
Palermo, two months short of his 37th birthday, helped Boca
beat promoted Olimpo 3-1 in the southern port city of Bahia
Blanca to ease the pressure on coach Claudio Borghi.
"To take part in two goals and score another is important
for me," Palermo, Boca's all-time record scorer with 224 goals,
"It's good for one's confidence and the team's," added
Palermo, the man called Saint Palermo by Diego Maradona, who
took him to his first World Cup this year more as a talisman
for his knack of scoring timely goals.
Palermo, who scored once in just 10 minutes of action in
South Africa, had struggled to justify his place in coach
Claudio Borghi's side playing alongside a more mobile centre
forward in Lucas Viatri who has scored four goals.
But Palermo, like the injured Juan Roman Riquelme, is a cult
figure at the club and it was difficult to see new coach Borghi
dropping him even after Viatri made his mark from the opening
Boca started the Apertura championship with a 1-1 draw at
Godoy Cruz before two defeats, 2-1 at home to Racing Club and a
shock 2-0 loss at promoted All Boys.
A home win over title favourites Velez Sarsfield was
followed by another loss at their Bombonera ground, 2-1 to San
Viatri was scoring but Boca were losing with one of the
worst defensive records in the division.
Palermo broke his season's duck when he pulled back a
stoppage-time goal against San Lorenzo, enough to rekindle his
Palermo makes up for lack of mobility with astute
positioning and his perfect layoff with his back to goal allowed
Viatri to drive a shot into the bottom corner.
After Olimpo had equalised, Palermo pounced on a poor
clearance to put Boca ahead again and crossed perfectly for
defender Juan Insaurralde to head the third.
With seven points from six matches, Boca are in 12th place
six points behind leaders Estudiantes, Velez and arch-rivals
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