December 22, 2014
Finally penalties for grabbing
101 injuries during Bianchi’s era as Boca coach
The clash between Bahia Blanca’s Olimpo and Tigre — two teams likely to struggle again — was won 2-1 by the Bahía Blanca team, but the good news is that each team scored with a penalty awarded for grabbing of opponents. It was high time that this repeated holding of opponents, especially during corners, and which referees tend not to notice, was sanctioned and while this was an isolated case, it should be a warning to other teams to stop this “tactic.”
Local championship soccer is dirty, but do not put all the blame on players who will do anything to win as long as they get away with it. And it is permitted by benevolent referees and insufficent or non-existent sanctions by the disciplinary committee. If this does not change, dirty play will get worse and worse. Some of the decisions by the disciplinary committee seem ridiculous such as one match suspensions for serious fouls.
101 Injuries. The enormous amount of injuries to Boca Juniors players since the beginning of 2013, when Carlos Bianchi took over as coach, is strange, but it is not the only strange thing that happens at this club. After 63 injuries during last season, the medical and training staff have made some changes which, however, did not produce any results. Among them was that players now have breakfast at the club to allow a better control of what they eat. But what about the rest of the day when they are not on tour, especially in the evening when people here are accustomed to eat too much and too late. Also, if the habit is continued of having a barbecue the day before a match, that is also the wrong food at the wrong time. Also, about 50 percent of the injuries are muscle strains and that comes from playing, and training, too much. Boca Juniors announced that they will play seven matches in different competitions over the next two weeks, even if not the same players will play all the matches.
It seemed strange also that the club received a lucrative offer for young Lucian Acosta and asked for 48 hours to think about it. Acosta is the natural successor of Riquelme in midfield and if the club is still interested in winning titles, they should not have asked for time to think about it before saying no. Boca Juniors will have enough problems when Argentina probably take goalkeeper Orion and midfielder Gago for a friendly replay of the World Cup final against Germany, while newly-signed Fuenzalida has been called up by the Chilean team at the same time. In Europe, some league matches will be cancelled during the international window.
River Plate. People were raving about River Plate’s good performance in beating Rosario Central last weekend, but one swallow does not make a summer. River Plate have always sold their best players which could have brought them more titles “to balance their books” but still have a big deficit.
Nothing came of the dream of signing Aimar, Scocco and Cambiasso announced by the club committee — when it comes to the point, they always say they have no money. Now they are waiting for offers for their young Colombian defender Balanta. When a local club wins the title, it always loses some of its best players and River Plate did, making it difficult to retain their title.
Racing Club are joint leaders with full points which again does not mean much after only two games. The team is the most changed in the first division, ending contracts or selling 14 players, while also getting 14 new ones. They won their two matches well, but do not look like candidates. The other full points joint leaders, Vélez Sarsfield look more like it.
San Lorenzo also lost players that moved abroad after winning the Libertadores Cup for the first time. They are hanging on to some until the World Club Cup in December. After that it will be a dismantled team and now Rodrigo Contreras has just been injured in the U-20 national team and will be out for three months. But unusual is the case of long-serving centrehalf Romagnoli who had a precontract with Brazil’s Bahia and cancelled it by paying US$250,000 because he wants to finish his career with San Lorenzo.
Visitors back? Before this championship started, it was announced that in the 2nd or 3rd round visiting fans would be allowed back into one stadium per week as a trial, but there is no further news. Last weekend’s fight between hooligans of one club, which caused one death, had nothing to do with fans of the visiting club. It had also been announced several times that visiting fans will be allowed back into stadiums with special identity cards when the AFAPlus ticket system is working. This was first announced in 2007, but seven years later there is still no news? Has it been forgotten?
Barcelona. Have a laugh! In April, FIFA slapped a 14-month transfer ban on Barcelona for breaking the law by bringing players under 18 from another country. Then the ban was lifted after Barcelona’s appeal. This allowed Barcelona to fulfil its requirements during this summer’s transfer window by spending 150 million euros — more money than any other club — headed by the 75 million euros purchase of Uruguayan Luis Suárez although he was suspended for fouR months for sinking his teeth into an Italian opponent during the World Cup.
This week the transfer ban on Barcelona was slapped on again. What would you make of this?