Thursday, February 14, 2008

U. San Martin: 2 - River Plate: 0 - Copa Libertadores 2008

First it was Cienciano, then Almagro, Godoy Cruz, San Martin (SJ), Tigre, Olimpo, Arsenal, Caracas...... now Universidad San Martin of Peru. Yes: River Plate have managed to achieve the unimaginable and lost to a team that was just recently founded 4 years ago and has an average crowd attendance of 50 people per match.

Truth be told, the Peruvians were not 11 Maradonas. Although they were constantly over-praised by the commentators, they did seem very mediocre and very few of them actually seemed like talented players. Their overall gameplay wasn't anything fantastic, and the only reason I could say they deserved the win was just because River played a worse, less organized game.

Our offense continously lacked ideas, while our defense went from bad to horrible. I leave you guys with the "P.R":

The Player Review -

Juan Pablo Carrizo: JP had a really good game and made some great saves. One of the few players that can actually escape from being bashed this time.
Paulo Ferrari: The ex-captain of the team was slow, attacked horribly, and defended even worse. If he is one day remembered for being a great player, it surely won't be for what he did yesterday.
Eduardo Tuzzio: The central defender continues showing signs that he will be turning 34-years old this year. Despite his positives, he has become a slow player who takes way too long to react (a common symptom for his age). Once a strong and secure player, we cannot rely on Tuzzio for these characteristics anymore.
Gustavo Cabral: The ex-Racing player still has a debt with River fans: having arrived a month ago, he still lacks good performances. Over the summer he received red cards, and was often the victim of poor performances. Yesterday wasn't an exception.
Cristian Villagra: Arguably the best on the backline, yet he still had a bad game. Not much was shown by the defender, though not too many errors were committed by him either.
Augusto Fernandez: Little to nothing. At the beginning he did a few interesting things, but his game decreased as time passed.
Nicolas Domingo: I love the kid and see a bright future ahead of him, but yesterday wasn't his day. He was replaced by Falcao during half-time, which was the correct decision based on his performance.
Leonardo Ponzio: The defensive midfielder had a fantastic game, especially when he was left as the lone DMF when Domingo left the field. He recuperated the ball throughout the whole game and made some amazing saves in which he single-handedly avoided goals. Ponzio was without a doubt the best player for "los millonarios" last night.
Ariel Ortega: "El Burrito" wasn't the player we are used to seeing: he failed his juke attempts, his passes were unsuccessful, and he had little overall influence in the team's offensive duties. As proven in the past, much more can be shown on behalf of Ariel.
Alexis Sanchez: Along with Ortega, he was probably the most marked player on the field. He did very little while on the pitch - a rare thing for the Chilean.
Sebastian Abreu: The Uruguayan had a relatively good game and was River's best attacking gun. A few good headers summed up the night for the foward, who was unable to get the ball past the goalkeeper.
The Substitutes -
Radamel Falcao Garcia: The Colombian replaced Domingo in the second half with the mission of adding offensive flare to the team. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful, though this could be due to the fact that he had to play further down the field than his usual position. He didn't touch the ball too often, causing his presence to not leave any marks.
Matias Abelairas: Decent game, yet little shown. There's always room for improvement.
Mauro Rosales: Nothing at all from the ex-Ajax foward. Many fans are starting to lose patience with him, and although he will continue to be given opportunities, his level of gameplay is expected to improve greatly if he plans to continue receiving chances.

Although this loss hurts deeply and could just be a preview of what the future will be like, one shouldn't be let down just yet: last year Boca Juniors were humiliated in the group stage (lost 3-0 to Cienciano and Toluca) and still won the tournament. In fact, the last time the champions of the Libertadores won their first game was in 2004 - in 2005, Sao Paulo tied with The Strongest (BOL), in 2006 Internacional couldn't defeat Maracaibo (VEN), and last year Boca had trouble taking one point vs. Bolivar (BOL).

My point? Nobody will be happy with yesterday's display, but we must not lose confidence and should stick with the team till the end.

Vamos River!


Nick said...

I have to agree with you on Carrizos performance, if it wasnt for him things could have been a lot worse.
Pepe Diazs goal was something special though

Paulo Moreira said...

Desde Portugal. Vamos RIVER

Locoxriver said...

Que grande Paulo! Lindo blog.

Un saludo.

Paulo Moreira said...

locoxriver gracias :)