Wednesday, September 26, 2007

River - Botafogo: The Preview

After an unsuccesful week, which included losses to Botafogo and Tigre, everything seems to indicate that Daniel Passarella's second cycle in River is coming close to an end. Although nothing has been confirmed, a loss to Botafogo tomorrow could result in the departure of our coach. A victory, on the other hand, would most probably result in his stay at the club, though if he doesn't eventually win either the Apertura or the Sudamericana, he will be gone in December.

Lots of rumours have been going around about a disconnection between the squad and Passarella. Despite that, Ariel Ortega stated in public that everyone is united and that the team will be looking to go all out to win championships.

With that said, the following eleven will play from the first minute tomorrow:

Juan Pablo Carrizo;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sánchez-Federico Lussenhoff-Cristian Villagra;
Augusto Fernandez-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega;
Andres Ríos-Radamel Falcao Garcia;

With Carrizo remaining in goal, it seems as if Passarella has found the defense to be the main reason why we conceded four goals vs. Tigre. In fact, only one defender will be in the same position as on Sunday (Nicolas Sanchez). The rest will be different: Ferrari will move to the left side, Lussenhoff will replace Danilo Gerlo, and Villagra will come in for Leonardo Ponzio.

Due to Alexis Sanchez's injury, everything seemed to indicate that Ruben and Falcao would be the regular starters, at least until Rosales returned. Surprisingly enough, Ruben will be on the bench since the "Kaiser" decided to opt for youngster Andres Rios instead. With Ruben currently in poor form, Rios could be the solution to find the speed lost without Alexis Sanchez.

Botafogo will be arriving with a rested squad, having played with mostly subs on Sunday vs. Fluminense. This is an advantage, but they also do have skilled players. As mentioned in last week's preview, Dodo is the main threat. But besides him, I noticed a very gifted player in the first match. The player whom I am speaking of is 26 year old midfielder Ze Roberto. With his amazing gameplay on the pitch, there is no question why the Botafogo player won the Silver Ball of the Brazilian National tournament last year.

In order to get through to the Quarter Finals of the Copa Sudamericana, River must win tomorrow's match. Neither a tie or a loss will get the job done, so the team literally has no other option but to win. Keep in mind that this is an International tournament, meaning that not all wins will get us through: a 2-1 victory would automatically give Botafogo the qualification, due to the away goal rule. Stated ahead are the rules for the qualification process:

- Tie or Loss: Botafogo Qualifies.
- 1-0 win in favor of River: The match proceeds to a penalty shootout.
- 1 goal difference in favor of River, but with Botafogo scoring (i.e.: 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, etc.): Botafogo Qualifies.
- More than 1 goal difference in favor of River (i.e.: 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, etc.): River Qualifies.

As you may see, River has to go out looking to get a good difference. At the same time, the team shouldn't leave big gaps in the back: a Brazilian goal will give us a tough time, causing us to score atleast 3 goals to get through.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 4:00 PM Pacific / 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

1 comment:

Christian said...

I won't make any predictions, but I can say this: River MUST score right away in the first half. If Botafogo get on the board before us, I don't know if we have what it takes to make it through. It's been a strange season so anything can happen, but I want more than anything for River to come out of the gate hungry and ready to pounce.

Can't wait.