Boca’s wildly fluctuating form continuesBy: Brett | February 8th, 2010
Newell’s 4-2 Boca
Ok, be honest. Even with all our defensive flaws, who really saw that coming? For those of you nodding your head up and down as you read this – really?
Well, if you are claiming that you did, I am going to need to see written, verified, proof.
I, for one, certainly did not believe Boca were capable of going three down within 18 minutes. 50 minutes, sure. But, 18 minutes? It was a little bit of a shock.
Except, it wasn’t. Not when it was actually happening anyway.
Boca may have given a much improved defensive performance midweek at home to Lanus, but, in keeping with our wildly fluctuating form in Clausura 2010, the lads decided to show just how far they in fact haven’t, and then kinda have, come against Newell’s on Saturday night.
How far we haven’t come…
Although we conceded three inside the first twenty minutes, it could se easily have been five. Or even six. Newell’s tore us apart. So much so that, at some points, it simply appeared that there was no defensive line to speak of. At others, it appeared that our defenders had adopted the ‘headless chicken’ approach, simply running about in circles, quite unaware of what was going on around them.
Let’s put our defensive troubles into perspective. After three matches, we’ve let in seven goals. Only Arsenal (8) and Lanus (11) have conceded more. With Munoz and Paletta in the heart, I don’t buy the statement that our defense is too old. Not good enough, sure. But not too old. Hugo Ibarra has been a weak link thus far and is a clear target, but Morel Rodriguez has had a bright start to the season. He has, after all, managed to keep Luciano Monzon, a regular international, out of the side.
After the match, coach Alves noted that, “If kids are ready to come down I will not have any problem in promotions. I have to build a solid defense…” He knows all our kids, so if he thinks one of them can do the job, I’m sure he can.
…but, kinda have.
Let me put another thing in perspective. We may have let in seven goals, but we’ve also scored seven of our own. Only Argentinos Juniors (8) have scored more, and they smashed six past Lanus on Saturday.
We have been rather good going forward.
As we were against Newell’s. After the initial ’shock and awe’ onslaught from the home side, Boca we decent. Very decent. So much so that I took more than slight offense to the headline, “Boca woes continue with 4-2 defeat”, which I read on the ESPN website the morning after the match.
We weren’t that bad. In fact, if you let a neutral football fan watch the match from the 20 minute mark onwards, I’m more than confident they will agree with me when I say that Boca were the better team for the seventy-odd minutes they were able to view.
Why? Well, they would have witnessed a 2-1 Boca win for starters. Martin Palermo scored his third in three games from spot in the 34th minute and Lucas Viatri added a second with a wonderful individual effort with five minutes remaining. If only it had come 10-15 minutes earlier.
“Newell’s we won the game in fifteen minutes, when they scored (almost) all the goals. In the second half they did not arrive, we had the best chances and were very close to a tie.” Alves mused post match. True. Newell’s only had one more shot on target after they went three up. Boca fashioned 14 shots, seven of which were on target. We just couldn’t take our chances. Roman, especially, was guilty of leaving the radar at home.
If, as appears to be the case, Boca are planning to win the Clausura by scoring more, rather than conceding less, they are going to have make sure they have their shooting boots for each and every match.
A couple of notes worth noting from the match in Rosario:
- Martin’s legs aren’t what they used to be. He may have scored a nice penalty, but this was El Capitan’s only real contribution. Three full matches in a week, two of which were in driving rain, seemed to be a bridge too far for his 36 year old legs.
Fair enough, too. But, with Viatri and Pablo Mouche on the bench, giving the big man a rest shouldn’t be an issue for Alves. Viatri was energetic and dangerous when he came on with 20 minutes remaining. He scored a cracker, but imagine what may have happened if he’d been given an entire half. And what will Alves do when Ricardo Noir, arguably the most talented of our young forwards, is ready to play? Selection headache? More like selection migraine.
- Sebastian Prediger made his debut. The young midfielder who arrived from Porto during the transfer window unexpectedly debuted after a late injury to young midfielder Cristian Erbes.
The former Colon midfielder ran out in the number 13 shirt and proceeded to have a fairly ineffectual debut. He put himself around, but it was clear he was short of match fitness. His big moment was earning us the penalty.
Here are the goals: