Thursday, September 13, 2007

River to Face Botafogo

With a global score of 5-2 over Corinthians, Botafogo managed to defeat the Brazilian giants and get through to the next round of the Copa Sudamericana 2007. They won both games (3-1 at home; 2-1 away) and will be facing River Plate in the Round of Sixteen of the South American tournament.

The first match is scheduled to be played in Rio next Tuesday, which brings plenty of worries to me: how will River play vs. Lanus on Sunday, hop on the plane to Brazil on Monday, and be ready to play the next day? This sounds awfully ridiculous, especially considering that we have played 8 matches in the last 24 days (in that time frame we normally play 3 games).

The second match, this time being without a flight to a different country, won't be much better: we will have to host the Brazilians a few days after playing vs. Boca Juniors. After having the players exhausted from (hopefully) playing their best in the Superclasico, it would have been a much better idea to schedule the match for a different week or, if it had to be played within those seven days, play it on Thursday.

Edit: The three trustable sources I found all updated their dates, and the first match will actually be played on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Despite meaning one additional day to rest, I still do not think it is safe for our players, who have been playing 3 matches in 8 days for the last three weeks. The second one, meanwhile, will be played on Thursday, September 27th, meaning that the squad will not have a single week without a match on a weekday until after the Superclasico.

As for the tournament as a whole, it may not seem too important, but I want River to win it for two reasons:

1) With the lack of International tournaments in the last decade for the club, it would never be a bad idea to introduce a new tournament to our trophy case.
2) The winners of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana face each other in the Recopa of the next year. Yup, you guessed it: winning this tournament would make us face Boca Juniors for the Recopa Sudamericana 2008, giving us the possibility to win another International tournament, this time in front of our arch-rivals. Even though it's been a while, nothing would be better than revenge for the 2004 Copa Libertadores elimination to the "bosteros", right?

Only time will tell what will happen. This would be the ideal time to win the Copa Sudamericana, but will River live up to the challenge or frustrate their fans once again?


loes said...

It's absurd that they will have to play so many games in a short time!
Is that normal in that country?
I also see that they won't have to play between oct.7 en oct 21, why is that? Another copa in between?

And how are their changes against Botafogo?


Locoxriver said...

"It's absurd that they will have to play so many games in a short time!
Is that normal in that country?"

- Well, the long series of games is mainly due to our suspended matches during the beginning of the season. Besides that, International matches (Copa Libertadores/Copa Sudamericana) are always played during the weekdays, so it isn't rare to see River play on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

"I also see that they won't have to play between oct.7 en oct 21, why is that? Another copa in between?

- No, this is due to the South American World Cup Qualifiers. This is another reason why we have been playing some Torneo Apertura matches during the week.

"And how are their changes against Botafogo?"

- So far there is no word on who will play: we must first face Lanus. It all depends on how the players feel - remember that Augusto Fernandez, Ferrari, Ahumada, and Ruben are all playing partly injured. For now, the only confirmed player is Juan Pablo Carrizo, who will be making his debut in the season.

- Locoxriver