A breathtaking win for Boca


The AFA’s incompetence in organising a playoff system that might have either rendered the final match meaningless, or ensured that one team would go into it without any motivation to win, has been papered over by Boca Juniors, who on Saturday evening beat San Lorenzo de Almagro 3-1 in Racing’s stadium. One (very) depressing point: one player from each side was hospitalised after an absolutely horrendous clash 19 minutes in when young Boca defender Juan Forlín appeared to swallow his tongue.

That coming together of bodies was almost the first real action of the match. Néstor Silvera had just missed out on opening the scoring for San Lorenzo with a header two minutes previously when all of the 20,000 fans, as well as both benches, took a sharp inward breath. Silvera himself was challenging Juan Forlín, one of Boca’s rising stars at centre back, for a long ball forward, and the two collided.

Both rolled to the ground, clearly hurt. TV cameras immediately went in close on Forlín, who’d gone an unearthly shade of blue and was shaking. Within seconds, staff from both benches were sprinting onto the pitch almost before the referee could stop the match. The physio who reached Forlín first immediately put his fingers in the defender’s mouth, seemingly in an effort to prevent the youngster from swallowing his tongue.

The match was held up for eight minutes whilst the players were removed from the pitch on stretchers – Forlín, who didn’t appear to be concious when he left the field of play, will be kept in hospital overnight as a precaution after suffering cranial trauma, whilst Silvera has apparently already been discharged.

The match restarted in the 27th minute, and just a few minutes later Boca’s Paraguayan full back was committing the near cardinal sin of running in and striking a free kick which Juan Román Riquelme had been preparing himself to take. It went a long way wide but, at least, the football was centre stage again. There were seven additional minutes at the end of the first half, and in the third of those, Lucas Viatri gave Boca the lead with a good shot after he’d anticipated the flight of a Riquelme free kick better than his markers.

In with the lead at half time, there was some confusion about how Boca would approach the second half. It hadn’t escaped everyone’s notice that a draw might actually have been a better result for them – with a draw, Tigre would have been eliminated from the title running and would have no motivation going into the last game, which would allow Boca to steamroller them to take the title on goal difference.

As it was, though, Boca went for the win, even though that means Tigre, with a win of their own on Tuesday night, could themselves take the title. They didn’t have it all their own way. The match remained tight after the break and San Lorenzo got back on level terms through Santiago Solari with half an hour remaining. Solari’s first-time shot after a pass from Juan Carlos Menseguez was a daisy-cutter and hit straight at Boca ‘keeper Javier García, who gifted El Cuervo the equaliser by spilling the ball into the net.

Boca’s cause didn’t appear to be improving when Luciano Figueroa was withdrawn, soon after the goal, and replaced with Rodrigo Palacio. Maybe the Xeneize really were playing for the draw? (Alright, alright, I’m joking.) Soon after that, Riquelme fouled Juan Manuel Torres, and picked up a booking which will see him suspended for Tuesday’s final match against Tigre. With fourteen minutes of the ninety left, it was Palacio who put Boca back ahead.

The goal came at the end of a lovely move from the azul y oro, when Jesús Dátolo hit a cross-field pass to Riquelme, who brought the ball down first time into Palacio’s path, leaving him with a simple finish. Boca led by one goal, and were helped minutes later when San Lorenzo defender Gastón Aguirre saw red for bringing down Palacio and seeing his second yellow card as a result.

There was also time for San Lorenzo striker Gonzalo Bergessio to show that he perhaps resembles Wayne Rooney in more than just his gutsy style of play and goalscoring ability, by getting himself sent off for positively screaming in the face of referee Héctor Baldassi after disagreeing with a decision the official made. Two minutes into stoppage time, Cristian Chávez (not to be confused for the player of the same name with San Lorenzo) made it 3-1 to Boca with a powerful, low left-footer from outside the box.

The final score puts Boca ahead of San Lorenzo on goal difference. This means that a draw on Tuesday in Avellaneda will be enough for them to take the title. San Lorenzo, by contrast, cannot now win the championship. They have a goal difference of zero, compared with Tigre’s -1 and Boca’s +2, but crucially, if Boca’s goal difference gets dragged down below San Lorenzo’s, it’ll be because Tigre are scoring. A Tigre win by one goal would still see Boca take the title. If the Victoria side win by two or more, they’ll lift the trophy.

The aftermath of the Silvera – Forlín collission (not recommended viewing for the faint-hearted):

The goals (and a few near misses) – San Lorenzo de Almagro 1  – 3 Boca Juniors, Primera A Torneo Apertura 2008 title playoff:

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8 thoughts on “A breathtaking win for Boca

  1. So much for Boca going for a tie. And I don’t know what the f#@k Roman was doing, but whatever it was, it didn’t deserve a yellow. No Roman and no Vargas against Tigre. A good thing for us Bosteros that we have a little cushion, because without those two we might need it. And I would guess no Forlin as well. Man , was that ugly or what ? Man of the match, Caceres. A picture of concentration and commitment.

  2. Though I’m in no way a Boca fan, I’ll have to grudgingly congratulate them for playing in the true spirit of sport, and going for the title by scoring as many goals as they could.

    Honestly, I did wonder about the ‘fix’ scenario when Garcia let Solari’s shot in. Perhaps he spent too much time watching Migliore on the training ground. Anyway, the Palacio goal, from a San Lorenzo corner, was one of the goals of the season, and instead of doing what I thought they were gonna do and let San Lorenzo equalise, they wanted to increase their goal difference. But I’m gutted they did. I thought a 2-1 Tigre win might be a possibility but does *anyone* think that Tigre have any chance at all of winning by two clear goals?

    They announced the Tigre team on screen in the build-up to this game, and there was no Rusculleda, anyone know why this is? Is he injured, or was Cagna just unimpressed by him on Wednesday? Or some clause saying he can’t play against Boca? (I can never keep up with which players have been transferred and which are on those stupid long term loans…)

    If anyone on Wednesday deserved to lose their place, I thought possibly Morel, who totally went missing… much as Barrientos did tonight, I was *so* disappointed in his performance.

    As for the Forlin-Silvera thing, it put me off the game for twenty minutes, I honestly thought Forlin had died. The JTV operator was constantly clearing his chat because all the people watching the game were typing about this in the most morbid manner. I was hugely relieved to hear that he was, if not ‘okay’, then at least still with us. It would have been the sort of thing that gives you nightmares if we had actually witnessed a death. I don’t want to watch that again.

    Really, this series of games has been the most compelling thing I have seen for ages. I’d love to think we have a final twist in the tail… I doubt it, but it will at least keep me excited during my works meal out on Tuesday night.

  3. Such an ugly game… one of the first I’ve been able to see this season, so i’m not sure if that’s par for the course for San Lorenzo or if they were more cranky because they were tired. I really can’t believe Baldassi put up with everything he did — though he finally had to start throwing cards around by the end.

    Mostly, I wish the play had overshadowed the fouls and injuries. Hopefully Tuesday’s game is less combative (but just as competitive)?

  4. OFF TOPIC but unofficial breaking news:

    Rodolfo Molina would become Racing Club’s new President if the unofficial results of today’s elections are confirmed.

    According to Olé, this is how the results will look like. I’m over the moon with Lalín outside the top 3. Common sense prevailed and he won’t be seen at Racing in the future.

    Datos no oficiales

    1 Rodolfo Molina (Racing Vuelve) 40 – 45 %
    2 Miguel D’Aquila (Ganar-CRA) 25 %
    3 Hugo Recchia (Sarcac)
    4 Daniel Lalín (Gente de Racing)
    5 Salvador Azerrad (25 de Marzo)

    Daniel Lalín didn’t show up to vote. He wanted to avoid suffering a protest by fans.

    I’ll keep you posted as soon as I hear if there are official results available.

  5. Thanks for the update Seba. A great Christmas present for the real Racing fans!

    The fact that he couldn’t even feel able to vote says everything. Hopefully Racing will not turn back the clock, Llop will be given a chance to build something and he will see sense over Migliore! (Hasn’t his loan spell ended now anyway?)

  6. Hi Mia ! That is a very good question ! Many people have different favorite players. My favorite is Sebastian Battaglia, but I like many others as well. When you decide who is your favorite player, please let us know !

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