Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cíchero Handball Gifts Estudiantes Victory

Gabriel Cíchero may be a fine player, but not today. In fact, the only thing more faulty than his play today were the new lights at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, which caused two delays in play in the first half.

Of course, as a recent anonymous comment noted, Cichero is a left back, not a centerback. Thing is, with Sensini's three man back line, he's playing as a centerback. That lead directly to him being the only defender back as the team from La Plata put a dangerous cross into the box, which the Venezuelan international proceeded to play with a clearly intentional hand ball. In fact he looked more like a goalkeeper than a defender... perhaps we should try him there and let El Flaco Peratta play as a defender. Veron made no mistake with the ensuing penalty kick, though Newell's keeper Sebastián Peratta did choose to dive the right way the ball was out of his reach.

So why not just start Machuca, who has proven that he can play in the middle of the defense? Or, play a four man back line, and move Formica up as a forward? But that would make sense, I suppose, and that might just be too much to ask from the Senseless One. Not announcing the line up before the game may be the best thing he's ever done, but then all he did was put out the team that everyone expected him too.

Cichero isn't the only goat today, as Rolando Schiavi was offsides when Newell's managed to put the ball in the back of Estudiantes' net. Still, it was the kind of play were the offsides could have been waved off, as Newell's captain did not effect the play. The biggest disappointment may be that Newell's continue to play more long balls that never came close to creating any kind of chances. We may as well be throwing darts at a dartboard while blindfolded.

Newell's had one other chance, which with a different set of officials may have resulted in a penalty for the home side. Instead, that too, was called for offsides. Truthfully, neither team looked impressive, and a draw would have been more than fair. There was no man of the match, no one stood up and took control of this game.

There were also a couple of injury worries in the first half. First it was Agustín Alayes, who went to ground while running up to take a freekick. That's right, no foul, he just suddenly went down, apparently from a leg cramp. Sensini had Machuca up and ready, but it wasn't long before Alayes was waving the move off, though he still appeared to be having problems.

The second was Raúl Villalba, who took what in Ice Hockey would have been a legal hip check which sent him over the Pincha player and crashing to the ground. The 20 year old defensive midfielder was making a rare start in place of the injured Lucas Bernardi. Still he played until the 72nd minute when he was replaced by Leandro Velázquez.

All in all a rather disappointing match, and not just because Newell's lost. They could have won this game and I'd still wouldn't have been happy with the way either team played.

Here's the footage of the goal, including Cichero's moment of stupidity that lead to it:

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