Soccer — Libertadores Cup previewWednesday, August 13, 2014
San Lorenzo seeks first major title
Faces Nacional of Paraguay in second leg final after their 1-1draw
San Lorenzo will face Nacional of Paraguay in a historic final in Buenos Aires today for the Libertadores Cup, a trophy that they haven’t been able to win, after having drawn in the first leg in Asunción.
San Lorenzo is on the verge of winning its first major international title. It will host Paraguayan rival Nacional today at 9.15pm in the second leg of the Libertadores Cup final. The teams drew 1-1 last week in the first leg in Paraguay.
With seating for 44,000 spectators at the Nuevo Gasómetro, it will be an emotional night with over 40,000 San Lorenzo fans and almost 4,000 Academia tricolor fans travelling from Paraguay.
A home victory will secure the most important trophy in San Lorenzo’s 106-year history.
Both sides have yet to win the Latin American club competition. Today’s hosts made headlines around the world after Pope Francis acknowledged that he is an avid supporter of the club.
When San Lorenzo won the league title in Argentina last year, the pope hosted the team in the Vatican and even hoisted the trophy in St. Peter’s Square for all to see. He also reminisced about going to the stadium as a child with his father to watch the team play.
San Lorenzo, in its 12th Libertadores Cup, had an impressive run on its way to the final, eliminating clubs such as Gremio and Cruzeiro, the defending Brazilian champion.
Meanwhile, their Paraguayan opponents are not nearly as popular as country rivals Olimpia and Cerro Porteño. The 110-year-old team is in the final for the first time.
San Lorenzo has one of the biggest fan bases in Argentina. Club officials had to anticipate the sales of tickets for today’s decisive match after several thousand fans started lining up days before the ticket centres were scheduled to open.
The team’s only international titles so far are the 2001 Copa Mercosur and the 2002 Copa Sudamericana, both second-tier competitions in South America. San Lorenzo has 12 professional titles in the First Division and three in the amateur era.
Regarding the Saints, a nickname derived from its founder, priest Lorenzo Massa on April 1 1908, they carry a curse because they were the first Argentine team to play in the Libertadores in 1960, but lost in the semifinals against Peñarol of Uruguay in a 2-1 match tiebreaker.
Edgardo “Patón” Bauza, coach of San Lorenzo, winner of the Libertadores in 2008 as coach of Ecuador’s Liga de Quito, said that, “it will be the most important 90 minutes of the club’s history and we will write it in the best way possible.”‘
But in case of tie, the match will go into 30 minutes of extra time and then into penalties if needed.
“I have no doubt that we will come out victorious with the help of 50,000 of our fans,” said Ignacio Piatti, who will not be allowed to play today after transferring to Major League Soccer team Montreal Impact.
Bauza will replace him with Uruguayan striker Martín Cauteruccio to support teammate Mauro Matos, who scored a beautiful goal in the first leg in Asunción.
Nacional, which scored late in the first leg to avoid a defeat in front of its home crowd, will be without defender Ramón Coronel because of an injury, but midfielder Marcos Riveros will be back after a suspension.
“We will have the same fighting spirit,” Nacional coach Gustavo Morinigo said. “This match will be just as hard as the first one.”
The referee will be Brazilian Sandro Ricci supported by his countrymen Emerson Carvalho and Marcelo Van Gasse.
Probable starting team:
San Lorenzo: Sebastián Torrico; Julio Buffarini, Mauro Cetto, Santiago Gentiletti, Emmanuel Más; Héctor Villalba, Néstor Ortigoza, Juan Mercier, Leandro Romagnoli; Martín Cauteruccio and Mauro Matos.
Nacional: Ignacio Don; Juan Argüello, Raúl Piris, Leonardo Cáceres, David Mendoza; Marcos Melgarejo, Marcos Riveros, Silvio Torales, Derlis Orué; Julián Benítez and Fredy Bareiro
Herald staff with AP
12 DOMESTIC LEAGUE TITLES WON BY SAN LORENZO
1933, 1936, 1946 and 1959:
First division A titles
1968, 1972, 1974: Metropol
itan tournament titles
1972: National tournament ti
1995, 2001, 2007: Clausura
2013: Initial tournament title
Two international cups
2001: Copa Mercosur
2002: South American Cup