By the end of today, Argentina will have a new champion. San Lorenzo are out of the running due to the goal difference mathematics, so it’s a straight race between Boca Juniors and Tigre. Boca have won twenty-eight titles (amateur and professional), whilst Tigre have finished second, once – and that was a year ago. In the buildup, Boca have announced a familiar name will be returning in 2009 – Carlos Bianchi’s back.
The match will kick off at 8:30pm local time (10:30pm Greenwich Mean Time) on Tuesday night, and will be played at Racing Club’s stadium in Avellaneda, just south of the Capital Federal region which forms the City of Buenos Aires. The security arrangements were announced on Monday.
1,200 security staff will be deployed for the match, and an extra allocation of tickets have been released for this match over the number allowed for the previous two matches in the playoff series. Each side will have 9,000 populares (behind the goal) and 7,500 plateas (along the side of the pitch), the AFA clearly having decided that allowing the highest number of fans possible to see a title-deciding match, in a stadium which holds 55,000, would be silly.
The match comes just a day after Boca announced that ‘El Virrey‘ Carlos Bianchi, the most successful coach in the history of Argentine club football, will return to the club in the new year. Bianchi won’t be taking over first team affairs, but will co-ordinate all the club’s professional football teams, and act as a go-between for the directors and the squad, with a three-year contract.
Tigre will be missing their first-choice goalkeeper Daniel Islas, suspended after getting himself idiotically sent off in stoppage time against San Lorenzo, but enter the match with none of the pressure of expecation on their shoulders. Boca, meanwhile, are working out how to play without Juan Román Riquelme, also suspended for the match.
One alternative is to simply replace Riquelme with Leandro Gracián, but he’s not always impressed when called upon to act as sole enganche for Boca, so manager Carlos Ischia is also looking at the possibility of a flat four across midfield, with Cristian Chávez and Jesús Dátolo on the wings, and Sebastián Battaglia accompanied by Fabián Vargas in the middle. Facundo Roncaglia will replace Juan Forlín, who was subject to a horrible injury on Saturday against San Lorenzo.
Boca can afford any result equal to or better than a single-goal loss, whilst a win for Tigre – who beat Boca 3-2 during the Apertura – by two or more clear goals will see them take their first ever league title. Here we go…