Palermo’s heir?

not such a bad understudy for Palermo...
Do nothing, but score the winner: not such a bad understudy for Palermo...

Lucas Viatri had hardly had a sniff of anything in the superclásico, but popped up in the 60th minute to decide the match all the same in a manner the great Martín Palermo, looking on, would have been proud of. The goal came after Boca had been reduced to ten men through the sending-off of captain Hugo Ibarra, and the visitors hung on in the face of much frantic but clueless River attacking. River are now eight matches without a win; Boca return to winning ways after two straight defeats. A match report and a video of the goal? Oh, if you insist.

River dominated the match possession-wise and had the majority of the chances, but Boca, ultimately, were the more effective team and after Viatri took his chance brilliantly – a looping header from the edge of the penalty area after a deep free kick from Juan Román Riquelme – they managed, in the face of some furious pressure, to keep River at arm’s length.

The first half saw the match swing from half to half but not exactly end to end, with neither side managing any really decent shots inside their opponents’ penalty box. The only attempts were coming from middle- to long-distance, and the midfield battle was closely fought with Sebastián Battaglia picking up the game’s first booking midway through the half for – inevitably – fouling River’s Diego Buonanotte. A few minutes later Battaglia bodychecked Buonanotte just outside the Boca area but the referee waved play on in the face of River’s appeals.

After neither side had really imposed themselves upon the match in the first half, it took just minutes of the second for the ball to start rolling, though. Hugo Ibarra was tackled scrappily but fairly but Oscar Ahumada, and the ball ran out of play. Ibarra obviously thought it was his throw, because when the linesman flagged for a River throw the Boca captain was vocal in his opposition. He made sure to keep his hands behind his back (possibly mindful of the manner in which Independiente defender Guillermo Rodríguez was sent off against Boca last month), but referee Héctor Baldassi saw fit to show him a straight red card for his reaction, all the same.

Following the sending-off River started to exert more pressure and it seemed to be only a matter of time before resistance of Carlos Ischia’s men crumbled, but nine minutes on it was Boca who had the lead. Riquelme took a free kick from a central midfield position and Viatri, Palermo’s replacement whose suitability for the role some Boca fans have questioned, got to it first and sent a fantastic header looping into the far corner over a stranded Juan Manuel Ojeda in the River goal.

In the remaining half-hour, River pressured but couldn’t find a way through. Diego Buonanotte directed most of their truly promising moves, Radamel Falcao García ran his socks off up front and the second-half subs, Andrés Ríos and Mauro Díaz, linked up with Buonanotte nicely but their inexperience against a more mature Boca backline didn’t help the cause. River might have had a penalty in stoppage time, Falcao bringing the ball down but finding himself checked off it by Gabriel Paletta, who was nowhere near the ball whilst former River defender Julio César Cáceres stepped in to clear, but by and large it was a comfortable defensive performance from Boca in the last half hour.

River, then, remain in a dreadful position – if Central avoid defeat at home to Gimnasia La Plata this evening the champions will be rock bottom of the Apertura – and with this defeat Diego Simeone’s job is relying ever more on success in the Copa Sudamericana, in which they play Chivas in midweek. Boca are eight points behind leaders San Lorenzo after the win. It’s a big ask, but if this proves the boost their challenge needed, who knows…?

River Plate 0 – 1 Boca Juniors: Lucas Viatri, 60th min:

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16 thoughts on “Palermo’s heir?

  1. Nice victory for Boca. I’ll have to admit Viatri does have a knack for some strange headers that find paydirt. As for the missed fouls-I would agree that was a foul Battaglia put on Buonanotte, but not the Falcao flop. Though it was a nice flop.

    What do you have to say to get a straight red ? Unless you infer that the linesman has River money in his pocket that seems a bit harsh.

    Not that he had much chance, but I think this eliminates Simeone from consideration for the seleccion DT.

  2. That’s what I thought, Johnny. It was obviously something very strong because Ibarra’s demeanour was (relatively) respectful apart from the initial ‘WHAT?!’ and as I said, his hands were firmly behind his back the whole time. No doubt we’ll find out soon enough what the linesman claims he heard.

  3. Truly awful performance from River. Not a single meaningful shot in the second half, and this after Garcia in the Boca goal mishandled the ball every time it came his way in the first half – I still can’t believe he contrived to let one long, slow dribbler slip through him and hit the post. He’s the luckiest superclasico debutante of all time, though overall Boca were deserving winners. This campaign is embarrassing and I’m ready for el Cholo to go, no matter what happens in the Copa Sudamericana.

  4. all i’ve got to say is

    10 men we only had 10 men we only had 10 men we only had 10 men !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! got to watch the whole match in the sports cafe in london.

  5. I too was in the Sports Cafe yesterday, but a shame the commentary was in Portugese.

    I thought that River were clueless. We seem be missing Ortega badly. Did he really go to Qatar? Maybe we could get him back and get rid of El Cholo.

    With regard to Ibarra’s sending off. When I saw the replay, I am sure I could lip read the word “madre”. We can only speculate about the rest.

  6. As for Ibarra, I saw him interviewed after the match. He was embarrased talking about the incident, and my spanish is very bad, but he did mention the word “madre”. Even so, given the rough play in futbol these days, it would seem even an insult involving somebody’s mother would only call for a yellow. Maybe that linesman is very close to his mother.

    I also some footage of Ibarra being booted out of a superclassico years ago for something he said. Ibarra seems a pretty classy guy, but he must have one really foul mouth !

  7. If he mentioned “madre” the whole insult would have been somewhere on the spectrum between bad and downright dreadful. He probably deserved a red.

  8. And Ibarra was wrong in complaining too! He was the last one to hit the ball in that play. He should have never complained for that throw in, let alone insulting an official! Silly.

    Gallina…as for Ortega, he is not in Qatar. He is playing in Nacional B (Argentina’s second tier football). He plays for Independiente Rivadavia of Mendoza.

  9. That’s what I thought, Seba. I didn’t want to put in the report that it was definitely a River throw because I didn’t want to appear biased and well, if Ibarra reacted that strongly… but yes, the whole thing struck me as odd.

    Gallina, welcome to HEGS, and as Seba says Ortega is currently playing in Mendoza (he turned down the offer from Qatar because it was too disruptive for his family). He’s on loan – River still own his registration – and don’t be too surprised if he returns to Núñez as soon as Simeone’s out. Which the way this championship is going will be December.

    Johnny – say anything to a latino about their mother, and you may as well be asking whether you can rape and then murder their children. The word ‘madre’ must have had something to do with it, because it’s key in some of the posters Boca have been putting up across Buenos Aires to lord it over River in the aftermath of the match.

  10. Sam-thanks for the added info about the posters. I might never have known. And definitely, Ibarra had nothing to moan about. He must be pretty frustrated these days, with being injured most of the time and seeing his form gradually decline.

  11. Seems to me linemen these days are a little touchy. Ibarra’s insult wasn’t aimed to nobody, In fact what he said (Futbol de Primera showed in detail the movement of his lips) was: “the throw-in was for the other side, you son of a bitch”. That’s an insult, O.K., but the kind of insult you hear a houndred each game. A very argentine insult nobody follows it literally.
    On the other side, you see frecuently players going too hard to a ball, with chances to hurt serioulsly the other player, and the same linemen don’t even open their lips. A good exemple of that was the last Argentina – Uruguay in Buenos Aires, where the uruguayans got tired of kicking every argentine player.

  12. From what i could see the linesman didn’t raise his flag to get ibarra sent off but the referee chose to send him off just because he argued with the linesman. The comment he made was irrelevant as far as i could see. I think letting the donkey go out on loan was a big mistake but obviously i’m glad they did & to see them in such a predicament fills me with joy, just as the predicament of my english club spurs fills west ham & arsenal fans with joy!!!!! Additionally anyone know how many tickets were given to boca fans??Somewhere i heard 2400 and elsewhere 5000. Not sure gallina what commentary u heard the one i heard was in arabic i think!!!!!

  13. They don’t gave much tickets to Boca fans (don’t know exactly the number, but less than 3 000 sure) because Boca gave more or less the same quantity last times they played in the Bombonera. The difference is that in River everybody could see a lot of empty spaces around the Boca parciality, and in the Bombonera the stadium was full because the River fans stay all packed in the third stage, leaving the second and first to Boca partners.

  14. I heard that 2,400 tickets were given to Boca. It woud be better if they had been given more. Boca gave River a similar amount last time.

  15. I believe those empty sections around the Boca fans have to stay empty, as per AFA rulings following the violence between LBDT factions in the last year or two. Perhaps not those specific sections must stay empty, but the overall capacity of fans allowed in has been reduced. Sam can correct me if I’m wrong about this.

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