There was no doubt as to the hot issue of the day in the Argentine press on Monday. The Boca Juniors vs. Independiente clásico in La Bombonera saw two red cards for the visitors during a second half which referee Pablo Lunati seemed to be losing control of at one point. Guillermo Rodríguez grabbed a linesman by the throat and Daniel Montenegro, who should have walked for a horrendous tackle, was only booked, before being given a second yellow card for re-entering the field of play without the ref’s permission. Huracán must be glad of it all – it’s overshadowed their bad news, as they start the week looking for a new manager after Claudio Ubeda left the club on Friday.
After two goals in rapid succession at the start of the second half in La Boca, one for each side, the controversy began. First, in the 73rd minute, Daniel Montenegro made an eye-watering tackle on Gabriel Paletta which was as straight a red card as anyone could see, but Lunati only booked him. Two minutes later, both players took to the pitch again but the referee, who’d forgotten to call them back on, gave each player a yellow card for re-entering the field of play without permission. In Rolfi‘s case, of course, it was his second booking, and thus he got the red card he should have been issued with two minutes previously.
There followed, only slightly later, a rocket of a shot from Independiente forward Leonel Núñez which cannoned down off the crossbar and looked to most like it had gone over the goal line. Neither Lunati nor his linesman Diego Romero gave the goal, and what happened next was a real eye-opener. Independiente defender Guillermo Rodríguez approached Romero, making gestures to indicate that the linesman was taking money from Boca to give the call against their opponents. When he reached the official, Rodríguez grabbed Romero by the throat. The Uruguayan has since apologised, but his sending off was perhaps the only non-controversial refereeing decision that was taken on Sunday. Even Boca playmaker Juan Román Riquelme, whose side benefitted from all the calls, claimed after the match that the referee had looked ‘nervous’, in spite of Lunati’s own protestations on Monday to Radio La Red that the only mistake he’d made had been to give Montenegro only a yellow card for his challenge on Paletta.
Huracán, meanwhile, will be playing at least one match with a caretaker boss. The sixth round of the Apertura is played in midweek on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to catch the fixture list up after last weekend’s international break, and Claudio Ubeda, who was playing for the club a year ago, has left his first managerial post following the amazing 4-3 defeat to Gimnasia de Jujuy. After finally seeing his side attack as last season showed they were so capable of doing, he could do little to plug a defence that’s getting worse and worse, and now has the team at the bottom of the Primera A table. Huracán’s shortlist to replace him includes names such as Angel Cappa, Enzo Trossero, Julio César Falcioni and Gustavo Alfaro.