Following training on Tuesday, Miguel Russo announced his starting XI for Boca Juniors’ Club World Cup semi-final with the African champions, Tunisian side Etoile Sahel. Boca’s eleven is more or less as expected in the defence and attack, but Russo’s raised a few eyebrows with his midfield selection, which sees a bit of a change from the tried-and-tested strategy.
Sebastián Battaglia, normally deployed by Russo as a cinco, or 5 (for simplicity’s sake this is normally translated into English as a ‘holding’ midfielder, but that’s not the full story), will instead be used as an 8 (more or less a box-to-box style player)against Etoile, with Fabián Vargas unexpectedly called in to play as the cinco. Pablo Ledesma, then, loses out, with Russo presumably expecting Battaglia to help out in the middle when Boca are defending – a ploy which seems to have half an eye on the expected final against Milan.
Ever Banega, until now used as a more creative cinco due to his impressive passing range, will still play in central midfield but, since Vargas will be alongside him, Banega will be given more of the attacking emphasis, with Juan Román Riquelme unable to do anything but watch from the stands. Neri Cardozo, on the left, will provide a wider attacking threat and will no doubt roam in his usual dangerous manner.
The time difference and the fact that I don’t have internet access at work mean I’ll be posting a match write-up and the goal videos a good twelve hours or so after the game, sadly, but have a little patience and they’ll be here all the same, better late than never.
Boca Juniors starting XI vs. Etoile Sahel, Club World Cup semi-final (managed by Miguel Russo):
Ibarra —- Maidana —- Paletta —- Morel Rodríguez
Battaglia —- Vargas —- Banega —- Cardozo
Palacio —- Palermo