With just a few days remaining before the 2008 Torneo Clausura begins, some of the sides are still going over their options when it comes to the formations and personnel for their opening matches. No such trouble for Argentina’s Olympic manager Sergio Batista, who already seems to know his starting XI for Wednesday’s match against Guatemala in Los Angeles…
San Lorenzo goalkeeper Agustín Orión was rumoured to be a little bit miffed at manager Ramón Díaz after his proposed transfer to Italian side Napoli fell through, apparently due to a lack of communication between the clubs. Orión kept some sort of humour about the matter, though, after – fittingly – club director Marcelo Tinelli left a message on his phone, rather than contacting him directly, to break the news. ‘They didn’t tell me directly,’ Orión told the press. ‘Perhaps they had a bad line…’ Napoli, however, were determined to get an Argentine goalie, no matter where from, and instead have signed Argentinos shot stopper Nicolás Navarro.
Another goalkeeper was rather happier to hope for some continuity with his current side, though – Pablo Migliore, formerly of Huracán and now with Boca Juniors, has played well during the pre-season matches, and wants to do ‘all I can to ensure [first choice ‘keeper Mauricio] Caranta’s absence isn’t noticed.’ His manager, Carlos Ischia, isn’t too preoccupied with Migliore’s position, anyway: he’s announced that, return midweek flight to LA or not, Juan Román Riquelme will be Boca’s key player in Sunday’s Clausura opener away to Rosario Central.
Sergio Batista also sees Riquelme as key to his plans, and from Monday’s training sessions it seems Argentina’s likely XI to face Guatemala on Wednesday in LA will look something like this:
Zabaleta —- Demichelis —- Fazio —- Escudero
Banega —- Mascherano —- Sosa
Higuaín —- Lavezzi
And, of course, before then we’ll have Tuesday night’s vital Copa Libertadores qualifier, as Lanús host Olmedo of Ecuador needing to win by more than one goal in order to qualify for the group stages, having lost 1-0 at altitude in Riobamba last week. Ramón Cabrero is keeping faith with the eleven who played so well – but lacked luck – in that match. Lanús’s starting lineup, then, will be:
Graieb —- Quintana —- Faccioli —- Velázquez
Blanco —- Pelletieri —- Fritzler
Acosta —- Sand