Apertura ’08: The playoff fixtures

So it comes to this. The 2008 Torneo Apertura title will be decided by virtue of a three-way ‘mini-league’ (new Spanish word alert: that’s ‘liguilla‘)between San Lorenzo, Boca Juniors and Tigre, who’ve all finished the normal season on 39 points. The fixtures were drawn up on Sunday night at the AFA headquarters. Here they are.

On Wednesday the 17th December, at 18:30 local time, Tigre will play San Lorenzo in the Estadio José Amalfitani, home of Vélez Sársfield. On Saturday 20th, also at 18:30, Boca Juniors will play San Lorenzo in Racing’s Cilindro. And on Tuesday 23rd, Boca will take on Tigre, probably at 21:30, though this has yet to be confirmed. That match will also be in Racing’s ground.

The planned practice session for the players called up for a mini-selección meet-up, which was going to take place tomorrow, has been cancelled as a result of the playoffs. I mean really, what did they think was going to happen?

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11 thoughts on “Apertura ’08: The playoff fixtures

  1. Regarding the national team practice, I don’t understand why can’t they train anyway without the players from Boca, Tigre and San Lorenzo? I mean…there were only four players from those teams involved.

    And I maintain what I said earlier. I think AFA got it all wrong by announcing the three fixtures regardless of the result of the first one.

    Not surprised though, AFA must be THE most inept and corrupt football association in the world.

  2. Shameless mafia boss Grondona pretended to be funny when asked about why they didn’t show the draw on TV.

    He said: “If you (the press) needed to see the draw on TV, you should have spoken to Cherquis Bialo (the AFA “spokesman” or something like that. A clown that used to work on radio and TV and was always saying bad things about Grondona until he joined him at the AFA)”.

    AFA had promised earlier that they would have the draw televised and in the end they decided to go behind closed doors.

    Grondona said: “Sometimes, we make mistakes”. D’oh! Really, Grondona?

    I dream of the day when you finally leave the AFA (hoping your sons will not inherit all your mafioso operations!).

    We’re talking about the man who introduced the promedios to save Boca and River (condemning Racing to relegation in 1983, although I’m not biased here. I’m just stating facts).

    The man who did nothing to stop violence in our stadia.

    The man who decided to introduced the short tournaments and makes you take mathematics courses to understand which team goes to the Libertadores, which ones goes to the Sudamericana and which ones are relegated.

    The man who founded a club (Arsenal) that mysteriously climb several divisions and eventually won an international cup with a fan base of 200 supporters (or so).

    And I’m sure I’m leaving out a thousand other “notable” things he did since 1978.

    A horrible man doing horrible things to our beloved Argentine football that anyway finds time to make a joke and laugh over the all-important Torneo Apertura’s playoffs.

  3. At least Tigre have half a chance, it hasn’t been determined to have San Lorenzo-Boca as the final match, which is what Sam thought might happen. I’m worried that Boca will get big favours in both matches, though.

    While I don’t think we’ll ever agree on the short tournaments, Seba (I really enjoy them – long tournaments would just cement a ‘Big Four’ mentality like the Premiership, with Boca, River or San Lorenzo pretty much guaranteed to be champions), I do agree about the Promedios. Get rid of them now!

    Why should Racing be dragged back because of previous poor coaches? Llop should have a blank canvas to work with. He hasn’t done so badly so far this season, look at how awful River have been, yet they can sit back on the glory of last year. They deserve to be fighting a relegation battle after what they have been serving up this season.

    Also Arsenal… their ‘following’ is an embarrassment. Did they get a lot of refereeing favours on their way up? It’s good to see a club steeped in its local area, with a passionate group of fans, ie Tigre, doing so well this year.

    I wonder why anybody would be an Arsenal fan? Surely if you were from that area, you would gravitate towards Racing or Independiente. It seems like an artificial club with an artificial fanbase. Even more so than England’s infamous and hated ‘MK Dons’. At least they are serving an area with professional football that it didn’t have before.

    One last word on the liguilla format… if Tigre beat San Lorenzo, and San Lorenzo beat Boca, Tigre are champions, right? Because the best Boca could do is equal the points tally of the other two, and Tigre have beaten them both already. So would the third game even be played? If they don’t change the rules from what Seba posted here a few days ago, then you have to make Tigre massive favourites, even though San Lorenzo are in the best form. A win and a draw will do for them.

  4. Answering the question about Tigre beating CASLA and CASLA beating Boca…

    Well…Tigre will be champions IF they have the better goal difference in the playoffs. That’s the first tie-breaker. Then it’s goal scored and finally it’ll be the results between the teams in the Apertura.

    It is an advantage for Tigre, but what are the chances of the three of them or two being completely tied on points, goal-difference and goal scored?

    Regarding Arsenal…here’s a stat.

    Arsenal went 51 matches without a player sent off right after their promotion to the First Division. At that time, the second team on that list was Boca at a distant 33 matches with no red cards suffered.

    Imagine what they did when they were playing in the second or third tier when the TV cameras don’t always go!

    That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to them getting favours from the AFA. Scum!

    By comparing them with MK Dons I think you make a strong point, because here in Argentina everybody hates Arsenal.

    As for short tournaments vs. long tournaments…yep…we’re going to have to agree to disagree there. But Boca and River (apart from Lavolpe’s bottle and Aguilar and his horrible presidential tenure) are favourites also with the short tournaments and my main point is to have a long tournament with relegations and tickets to international competition all decided in 38 rounds of matches. Whilst not all the teams will fight for the title (like in short tournaments, only a handful will do), every team will have something to play for in every match (until the end). That’s not the case even for cup qualification (you have to calculate three short tournaments sometimes, ffs!). That without mentioning the 6 short tournaments you have to consider when it comes to the fkng promedios!

  5. Interesting to hear about Arsenal.

    I think if the AFA want to keep the average points system it should only be based on Apertura and Clausura. For eg. Apertura 2008 and Clausura 2009 and get the average points from those two to decide relegation, Libertadores etc instead of having the current system of averaging out the last three years.

  6. For those of you who don’t know, there is a daily, in english, newspaper in Buenos Aires, the “Buenos Aires Herald”. It is small, has been published here for many years, and originally has ties to England. Today’s sports section headline was “AFA Put Their Foot In It Again”. The article makes the point that the title playoffs are poorly organized and favor Boca. The writer, Eric Weil, is often very critical of the AFA and the situation with the barrabravas. If he wrote for a bigger paper, he probably would have been found face down in a mud puddle a long time ago.

  7. He’s still alive, Johnny, because none of those dinosaurs at AFA understand English! hahaha!

    I kept on thinking about how they messed up this playoffs. It makes no sense it doesn’t matter what’s your point of view.

    We have already established that these whole three matches will make no sense if San Lorenzo win both of their games.

    Now…what if they beat Tigre and then get a draw with Boca?

    What would be Tigre’s state of mind to face Boca on Tuesday knowing that no matter what they do, they won’t be able to catch San Lorenzo?

    Wouldn’t it be an incredible advantage for Boca to face a team with their minds on vacations and with their hearts broken?

    Because San Lorenzo would have 4 points out of their first two matches and Tigre could only get a maximum of three if they beat Boca.

    I hate the AFA with a passion! They are useless and they really ruin time after time what could be a very exciting thing to offer to the public.

    Of course, Grondona keeps on joking and saying: “Todo pasa” (‘everything comes and everything goes’ if I’m translating correctly).

    That’s it. I’m not watching any of those games.

  8. I’ll still watch. But I agree with Seba, it would have been better for the loser of the first game to play Boca in the second. At first I thought the situation looked good for Tigre, but it does seem as though it has been touched up to favour Boca.

    I kind of want Tigre to do it, but I expect San Lorenzo to win tonight… so I put £45 on them at 6/5. I got a very strange look from the man in Ladbrokes, who seemed to think I had a serious problem, coming in and betting on what appeared to him to be a totally random sporting event! : ) ‘Can you spell the name of that team again?’ he asked, having failed to find it in his World Club Championship list…

  9. Well, I won £54 off San Lorenzo tonight, and I think any Racing fans who care either way should want San Lorenzo over Boca on Saturday, to see Bergessio win a title – he was very gracious and humble to Racing fans when scoring for San Lorenzo against La AKD and I like to think he holds the club to his heart still… not like losers such as Luchetti or Gata Fernandez.

    Anyway, if we have another look at the conspiracy theory, here’s how Saturday might turn out…

    Boca play it tight for the first half, San Lorenzo attack more but can’t get past a massed defence.
    Early in the second half, Riquelme gets his passing going, and Gaitan, on as a second half substitute, puts Boca ahead…

    Realising that a 1-0 defeat puts them out of the running, San Lorenzo throw everything into attack but can’t score until… in the 94th minute, Menseguez latches onto a ‘sloppy’ Caceres back-pass and makes it 1-1. San Lorenzo’s fans celebrate like crazy until they realised what Boca have done…

    Ischia has a cunning smile, as he realises that needing a win against an eliminated and demotivated Tigre might be easier than needing a draw against a re-motivated and charged-up Tigre, no matter how many players of theirs are missing… because knowing Boca, if their opponents have something to play for, there’s always a chance their nerves could get the better of them.

    So Seba is right, AFA’s ridiculous set-up has brought this possibility about. Only San Lorenzo can remove any doubt by going all out to beat Boca on Saturday. And I’ll have to disagree with Jonathan, with Tinelli’s money, I think San Lorenzo have assembled an all-star team to do it. They’re in by far the best form of the three, that rainstorm during the Huracan clasico was the turning point, and I predict that Russo’s side will now emerge as champions.

    I’ll put part of my winnings from tonight on that…

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