Unbelievable. If you’d scripted this at the start of the championship, no-one in their right minds would have published it. I heard a joke recently, after a striker in England’s second tier starred in Northern Ireland’s recent Euro 2008 qualifying exploits. ‘Roy of the Rovers reads David Healy comics!’ If that’s true, then presumably David Healy reads Leandro Lázzaro comics. Lázzaro has yet again helped newly-promoted Tigre to an improbable win, this time over none other than Boca Juniors, and they’ll be going into their final match with an outside shot at the title itself.
At half-time, it was all going as expected. Boca were 1-0 up courtesy of an early goal by Martín Palermo, and Tigre’s valiant title challenge looked like finally being killed off. If Boca won they’d still need a massive slice of luck in tonight’s later match in order to be in with a chance of the title themselves – but this is Boca Juniors we’re talking about. Surely nothing could go wrong?
But halfway through the second half, something did go wrong, in spectacular fashion. that man Lázzaro popped up with yet another goal to level the scores. Big deal, was the initial reaction from the neutral observer – we’ve gone from having a result that will probably see both sides ruled out of the race, to one that will all but definitely do so. And then something amazing happened. The tiny club, playing against South America’s most succesful side, kept pressing, took advantage of the new-found shakiness in the visiting defence – and sent the fans into raptures just six minutes after the leveller, as Martín Morel grabbed a goal which proved to be the winner, and which allows Tigre – who’ve never finished higher in the top flight than sixth before this season – to keep dreaming of the league title.
One thing’s for certain now – that title will go to a club who’ve never won it before. Lanús are kicking off against Gimnasia as I type, and if they win that match (it’s difficult to see how they won’t, but then who’d have predicted that Tigre would come from behind to beat Boca?), the race will be almost over. But let’s save the permutations until we know that result, shall we? For now, Tigre can sleep soundly.