First class

Verón in control for Estudiantes

Estudiantes de La Plata had a tricky task this weekend to atone for their Copa Libertadores elimination at the hands of LDU Quito in midweek, but they’ve passed the test with flying colours. They hosted third-placed Boca Juniors in the Estadio Municipal de La Plata on Sunday afternoon and, inspired as ever by Juan Sebastián Verón, lifted the club’s mood by putting daylight between themselves and one of their fellow challengers for the Clausura title, winning 1-0.

Boca arrived on a high, after the recent victories over River Plate (in last Sunday’s superclásico) and Cruzeiro (in the Copa Libertadores), and were optimistic enough about their chances of going top themselves that they kept Juan Román Riquelme out of the fray in readiness for Wednesday’s Copa quarter-final with Atlas. As the last side to beat Estudiantes in their own stadium in the league – way back on the 10th March 2007, 23 matches ago – Boca had even more reason to hope for a good result. But hope was all it was.

The hosts had other ideas, getting the first real chance of the match from a Seba Verón corner and playing with all the drive that came from a desire to get back up and running after the disappointment of the previous week. Boca almost couldn’t get into the Estudiantes half for the first 30 minutes, and the only chance they had was a drive which whistled just past the post from Fabián Vargas – three minutes into stoppage time.

After the break Boca improved, in particular Luciano Monzón and Jesús Dátolo forming a good partnership down the right, the latter finding Pablo Ledesma in the 56 minute with a centre. The midfielder eluded his marker and beat goalkeeper Mariano Andújar – but not defender Agustín Alayes, who was covering his team-mate on the line to clear. And thereafter the match looked to be heading for a draw – but Ezequiel Maggiolo had other ideas. Verón took a corner with quarter-of-an-hour left which was knocked down inside the six yard box by Leandro Desábato, and Maggiolo was on hand to see the ball over the line. For the last fifteen minutes, Estudiantes just closed the match out.

Boca’s gamble to go without Riquelme backfired, and Estudiantes now lead the table alone, pending the result of the River vs. Gimnasia La Plata match on Sunday evening.


3 thoughts on “First class

  1. I was waiting for you Justin !! Congrats to River for pulling themselves off the deck and getting a win today ! I guess Sam called it when he said Boca backfired without JRR. Gracian was invisible.

    I’ll pose the question to you that I usually pose to my River buddies this time of year (I do have some)-I ask this with a blank, clueless look on my face-

    “Who does River play next in the Libertadores ?”

    No hard feelings. Just having some fun. You are welcome to bust me in the future when you have the chance ! Peace !

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