Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thank You, Pulga

After Racing Club beat hosts Banfield yesterday by a 2-1 score they took a two point lead over Newell's Old Boys for the final Libertadores qualifying position. That put added pressure on Newell's to get a win today against visiting Boca Jrs, and in the end La Lepra were up to the challenge... but barely.

Both Mauro Fórmica and Mauricio Sperdutti had chances in the first half where they were in against Boca keeper Hernán García, but failed to score. Sperdutti could not get control of the ball, and his first touch just rolled the ball to the waiting goalkeeper. Fórmica got a toe poke shot that García block, giving Fórmica another chance with the rebound, but that shot went wide.

Iván Borghello was replaced by Luis "La Pulga" Rodríguez in the 38th minute of the first half. Normally I have not been a big supporter of Rodriguez, and when I saw him coming on I was not exactly pleased with the decision made by coach Roberto Sensini. That continued as the team kept to the game strategy they came in with... lots of crosses into the box. If they were not working when the 5' 10" (1.78 meter) Borghello was in the box, what chance did they have with 5' 4" (1.62 meter) Pulga?

The answer came in the 85th minute of the second half when the Rodriguez received the ball at his feet not in the box, but just outside of it. He was given just enough room by the Boca defense to blast a shot towards the net that eluded García and give Newell's a 1-0 victory. Rodriguez celebrated by removing his shirt, earning him a yellow card, but considering the significance of the goal, Newell's first in, how long had it been, four games? I would take the card for the goal and three points myself.

Man of the match, in my opinion, goes to Sebastián Peratta. He really did not have any really difficult saves to make today, but he made all of them. No one else, on either team, had the kind of game that makes one stand up and take notice, so San Peratta earns the honors more through default... and the fact that I really like his new shirt. I hope to see him wearing it for quite some time... well, unless National Team coach Sergio Batista finally opens his eyes and gives him a look with the Albicelestes. Obviously when playing for one's nation sporting you domestic team's colors would be a bit cheeky to say the least.

So, Newell's remain in the hunt for a place in the Copa Libertadores. There are still more ways for Newell's to get knocked out than there are for them to qualify, including Independiente winning the Copa Sudamericana. (This is the first time that Copa Sudamericana winners will qualify for the Libertadores. Each South American nation has an allotted number of teams that can qualify for the Libertadores, and the winner of the Sudamericana will take up one of those slots for the country they are from.)

Next weekend Newell's will be in Buenos Aires to face another struggling team, San Lorenzo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check Estigarribia`s performance , to me is the highest

Pulga`s goal..amazing!!