Not so scary anymore?

There was a popular belief surrounding South American football until last year. It said that Brazilian club sides taking part in the Copas weren’t afraid of anyone at all, until they came up against Boca Juniors. When they met the boys from the Riachuelo, though, they’d lie down for fear of angering their foes and allow themselves to be rolled over. That doesn’t seem to be the case any more. São Paulo put Boca out of the Copa Sudamericana last year, Fluminense knocked them out of the Copa Libertadores at the semi-final stage this year, and now Internacional are joining in the fun, following a 2-1 victory in La Bombonera to go through to the semi-finals of this year’s Copa Sudamericana after winning 4-1 on aggregate.

Boca had an unbeaten run at home stretching back 29 matches in international competition, to the infamous night they were knocked out of the 2005 Copa Libertadores by Chivas amid scenes that saw them banned from using La Bombonera in the Copas, and from participating in the following year’s Libertadores (a weak punishment since they hadn’t qualified for it anyway). But tonight, led by former River Plate playmaker Andrés D’Alessandro, Internacional ended that run, and await the winners of the Chivas vs. River quarter-final in the semis.

It took until two minutes after the break for the first goal to arrive. Carlos Ischia had gambled on replacing Nery Cardozo with Lucas Viatri to give an already attacking Boca (who lost the first leg 2-0) more presence up front, but Magrao broke forward immediately, exchanged passes with Nilmar and crashed a shot against the crossbar. He got to the rebound first, and forced in a goal that left Boca needing four.

Afterwards, Ischia sent on Jesús Dátolo and Juan Román Riquelme to bolster an otherwise largely reserve lineup, and it had an effect – Riquelme got an equaliser from the penalty spot after Dátolo had taken a dive to win the kick, just minutes after the two were introduced to the fray. Boca had some life left in them, but the tie was effectively ended when, in the 72nd minute, D’Alessandro put Alex through with a superb pass for the striker to stroke home left-footed. Eighteen minutes remained, but weren’t really required.

Inter await either Chivas or River, who kick off shortly in Guadalajara, with the Mexicans holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg. We’ll have the goals from that match and Boca vs. Internacional on Friday afternoon, when I’ll be back in England and normal HEGS service will be resumed.

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6 thoughts on “Not so scary anymore?

  1. biased as ever sam. if u look closely how did jesus dive did the defender touch the ball yes or no. Also carlos and the boys have bigga fish to fry in the league campaign. hala boca!!!!

  2. At least los bosteros can make excuses like that…I don’t have any words to describe the depressing defending against Chivas…at least things can’t get any worse…

  3. For your information… as it seems you haven’t seen it (too busy writing about how bad Boca does)… River has been kicked out as well… by a Brazilian team? by another Argentinian team? o no… by a MEXICAN team!!!
    River played a beautifull first half… I don’t know what Simeone told the guys during half time… but they seemed to had forgoten how to play football… well looking at their position on the league… the had forgoten how to play football for a loooooooong time now!!!

  4. I’m glad both Boca and River were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana.

    I’m glad because Conmebol’s and FOX Sports’ pockets will be emptier by missing out on that anticipated Boca-River semifinal.

    I’m glad both will miss out on the chance to cash in a couple of extra superclasico’s ticket sell and I’m happy because the fans won’t get ripped off two more times (home and away legs).

    Not only these two teams get an invitation by the Conmebol (to my knowledge they are the only cases in which teams are INVITED and don’t have to qualify for an international cup), but they also get automatic second-round (or quarter-finals) qualification while teams such as Arsenal (last year), Estudiantes and Argentinos Juniors had to played a previous knock-out stage to get to where Boca and River got effortless.

    Now one from Estudiantes and Argentinos are going to represent Argentina in the Copa Sudamericana final and I’m glad they’re not going to go head-to-head with the two giants.

    Copa Sudamericana is (and will forever be as long as they keep inviting Boca and River) a complete joke!

    And the worst thing is that both Boca and River would almost every year qualify by their own right on points accumulated (making that invitation look even more stupid).

  5. Atul, as regular readers are aware I’ve been in Lisbon. I wasn’t able to see the game, but I read two or three reports of it and all of them said Dátolo had taken a dive (and no, none of them were from River fansites before you ask, though one of them was from Globo!).

    Gabriel, I take exception to the suggestion that I didn’t mention River’s elimination because of a bias against Boca. As I explained in the final paragraph of this story, that match was still twenty minutes away from kicking off when I had to go to bed (at gone 2am) last night in order to get up at 7 this morning to catch my flight home. I’ve just arrived home and found out the River score myself about ten seconds before seeing your comment.

    Seba, of course the part of me that supports River is disappointed (though not in the least bit surprised) that they’re out, and covering a super is always fun, but in essence I agree with everything you’ve said in your comment.

  6. Atul, again – I’ve now seen the video. Dátolo didn’t dive, he just stumbled over a pretty clumsy challenge. But the defender got quite a lot of contact on the ball.

    The ref made a cock-up, but it wasn’t due to Dátolo trying to fool him, and I apologise to the player for spreading the mis-reporting of his actions to the English-language world (not that I suspect he’d care).

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