Saturday, September 15, 2007

River - Lanus: The Preview

River Plate will face the always-difficult Lanus tomorrow, for the 9th round of the Torneo Apertura 2007. Despite the many games we have been playing lately, Daniel Passarella has decided to continue playing the same "regular" starters, keeping in mind that a loss would leave us 7 points from the league leaders Independiente.

The following eleven are expected to play from the first minute:

Juan Marcelo Ojeda;
Paulo Ferrari-Nicolas Sanchez-Danilo Gerlo-Eduardo Tuzzio;
Augusto Fernandez-Oscar Ahumada-Fernando Belluschi;
Ariel Ortega;
Marco Ruben-Alexis Sanchez;

With "el Kaiser" putting the best he has, the question remains: is he doing the right thing? Sure, losing would affect us tremendously, but playing some of these players might just mean postponing our loss. Augusto Fernandez, Oscar Ahumada, and Marco Ruben have been playing injured for a while now, and we could easily replace them (Abelairas for Fernandez, Ponzio for Ahumada, and Rios for Ruben). Tuzzio also isn't 100% fit, and Ortega is just barely returning from an injury. What may be a minor problem now could end up evolving to a major injury, causing us disastrous results in the future. Is it worth it, or would have it been better for Passarella to put at least one or two of these players on the bench?

Meanwhile, Lanus are currently in their best moment this season. Having started off weakly, "el Granate" found a way to dig themselves out of a hole and eventually eliminate Estudiantes from the Copa Sudamericana. Besides that, they defeated teams tough teams like San Lorenzo and Banfield, and are now only 2 points away from the top of the table. A player to watch out for will be ex-River Plate player Jose Sand. I did not like him at all when he wore la Banda, but this season alone "Pepe" has scored 5 goals (more than any River player, at the moment). He's not the only good player, though: Diego Valeri, who is currently being linked to Boca Juniors, is a talented left-midfielder who has already put the ball past the net 3 times during this tournament. Lautaro Acosta, who will probably be playing as a foward alongside Sand, was important for the Argentine U-20 National Team this year, and has put in some very good performances for Lanus as well. If it's not obvious by now, my point is that Lanus has a very talented squad, and will be anything but easy to defeat.

The match will be shown live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 12:00 PM Pacific / 3:00 PM Eastern Time. It will also be shown on tape delay on Fox Soccer Channel, at 2:00 PM Pacific / 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

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