Soccer — Libertadores CupFriday, August 1, 2014
Bauza: ‘There’s one last step to take and it’s very difficult’
San Lorenzo coach Edgardo Bauza admitted yesterday that the Libertadores Cup final against Nacional of Paraguay will be the “most difficult” match that will have the club, which reached the international competition decider game for the first time in its history.
“I still cannot believe what we’ve done, I’m too focused on what comes next. We fought a lot, but there is still one step to take and is very difficult. We are going to prepare ourselves the best way possible,” said the trainer.
“I’m very happy for the group, the squad. I congratulated them all. I see San Lorenzo growing with every match, and I feel great about it.”
In La Paz, Bolivia, the Saints were pelted with objects by rival fans and needed protection from police at halftime of their 1-0 loss to Bolívar on Wednesday, yet still advanced to the final for the first time.
The Argentine side had held a comfortable 5-0 advantage from last week’s first leg and sat back to defend in two lines of four, 3,600 metres up on Bolivia’s Andean plateau.
Substitute Gerardo Yecerotte scored the only goal for Bolívar in the second minute of added time on a poor Hernando Siles pitch.
“I’m satisfied with the players,” added Bauza. “This cup had difficulties and especial things.”
Talking about the next rival, the coach said: “It’s a team that has the same ambition as we have. Playing as visitors, they are very organized, the players run a lot and they played with many defenders. We are different teams. It’s going to be a tough final, but we will do everything we can to beat them.”
The first leg will against the Paraguayans will be on Wednesday in Asunción, and the return leg will be seven days later at the Nuevo Gasómetro stadium.
Yesterday, the Argentine squad returned to the country.
Team’s captain, Juan Mercier, said that they should not be overconfident for qualifying for the Libertadores Cup final and continue with the style and mentality they had to reach this phase.
“It’s true that when you think about a possible Libertadores final, it would probably be against a Brazilian team. Nacional is maybe a team without history in this competition, but it reaches the final anyway,” said the midfielder. “To play the return leg at our stadium is very positive. We will have the fans supporting us and that’s great for the team.”
The 34-year-old Mercier admitted that he never thought of playing a final of an international competition as two years ago he was part of the team that won a promotion-relegation playoff against Instituto to stay in the First Division.
Midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who with his skills was a key part of the team during its campaign, signed for Montreal Impact of the Major League Soccer, and his permission to play for San Lorenzo in the Libertadores Cup is over. Club president Matías Lammens is trying to extend the permission until the final game.
Herald staff with agencies