Monday, September 3, 2007

Racing Club: 1 - River Plate: 1 - Torneo Apertura 2007

Yesterday's match vs. Racing Club brought up several thoughts to my head, regarding everyone and questioning the obvious, as well as the inconceivable. Some of these speculations will be expressed later on in this post, but let's start off with what happened on the pitch.

Racing started off winning with a goal by Facundo Sava, their current top goalscorer. The match opened up thanks to a well-taken penalty shot by "el Colorado". Nothing strange, right? Wrong.. The truth is, a foul never existed! This isn't the first time we are victims of incorrect decisions, though: just in this tournament, we already have had two penalties made up against us (vs. San Martin (SJ) and Racing Club), one goal conceded after a clear foul against our player (vs. Gimnasia (JJ)), and several bad minor calls (inexistant free-kicks against us, fouls not called in favor of our team, etc.). Now, what could be the reasoning behind this? It could simply be the result of poor performance by referrees, but it may also go further than this. Without confirming anything, I think this could be a plot by the AFA (Argentine Football Association) against Daniel Passarella. "El Kaiser" has been making controversial decisions since his return, such as critizing the association and referrees, not following certain rules (i.e. - having both teams enter the field at the same time), etc. After promising to leave River if he doesn't win a title by December, this could be the perfect opportunity to have AFA's "rebel child" leave. A campaign against River would pretty much assure his departure. ONCE AGAIN, I am not confirming anything, nor saying that it is probable: it is just a possibility that came up to mind.

Back on topic: River managed to tie the match in the second half with a goal by Federico Lussenhoff, the same defender that the ref Saul Laverni "saw" commit a foul that resulted in Racing's penalty. We all celebrated the goal, but it was worrisome nonetheless. The question I asked myself is how a 33-year old defender can score a goal, yet our young & talented fowards cannot. Marco Ruben was basically absent throughout the evening, while Radamel Falcao Garcia found many ways to open up and get the ball (a merit itself), yet missed SEVERAL clear chances.

We may not have played well, but we could have easily found a win vs. Racing. The loss has left us 7 points away from new league-leaders Boca Juniors. With one game less, we could minimize the difference to just 4 points on Wednesday when we face Newell's Old Boys. Will River take advantage of their situations or continue avoiding possibilities to get closer to the top?

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