Thursday
December 25, 2014

Final tournament — boca juniors

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Coach Bianchi faces tough test

Boca Juniors’ Emanuel Gigliotti (l) and Luciano Acosta leave the field after the loss against Atlético Rafaela.
Looks for first victory against leader; Riquelme included in squad

The disappointing results seem to never end for Boca Juniors, which suffered a new defeat against Atlético Rafaela on Thursday and tomorrow will host leader Estudiantes de La Plata. Juan Román Riquelme was included in the squad by coach Carlos Bianchi.

When Boca Juniors hosts leader Estudiantes de La Plata at La Bombonera tomorrow, it will be looking for its first win of the Final championship and the first in eight league matches dating back to the Initial.

Carlos Bianchi’s side is eight points behind Estudiantes, the only team with maximum points after three matches, following Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at Atlético Rafaela.

“There are times when we are out of luck,” 64-year-old Bianchi told reporters. “I have faith in the team.”

Captain and playmaker Juan Román Riquelme and forward Juan Manuel Martínez were included by the coach in the squad to face Estudiantes tomorrow.

Former Argentina midfielder Riquelme, who has not played a game since November 23 when he suffered an injury in Boca’s match against All Boys, has recovered and, apparently, will be on the bench.

Martínez, who missed Thursday’s game, is also fully fit and will return tomorrow.

In Rafaela, the match was even and hung on a 56th-minute goal by Rodrigo Erramuspe that was deflected into the net by Boca midfielder Pablo Ledesma.

“We’ll press on thinking of the hard match we have with Estudiantes, who is top, because this must change, knowing we have one day less to recover,” Bianchi said.

The coach won four league titles, three South American Libertadores Cups and two world club crowns between 1998 and 2003. However, Boca has struggled since his arrival last year and the supporters are looking for some results.

In his first tournament in charge, Boca finished in 19th place, one of the club’s worst campaigns in its history. In the next one, the team was seventh, four points behind champion San Lorenzo in an even tournament with poor performances from most of the teams. This Final Tournament might be Bianchi’s last chance to show he can change the disappointing present of Boca, but he did not have a good start.

Bianchi’s record haul of titles in a previous spell as coach of Boca will not spare him the sack if the team continue to flounder in the Argentine league, club president Daniel Angelici said before Thursday’s match.

“If I believe the best thing is for (Bianchi) to step aside, my pulse won’t tremble because my commitment is to Boca and Boca is above everything, regardless of the respect I have for the coach,” Angelici told TyC Sports.

The Final Tournament 4th round starts today with three matches. Lanús plays against Vélez Sarsfield at 5pm while All Boys hosts Olimpo at 7.15pm. Arsenal faces Racing at 8.30pm at the late match.

Herald with agencies

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