For better or worse, the standard has been setBy: Brett | February 4th, 2010
Boca 3-1 Lanus
Well, that was more like it, wasn’t it Boca Offsiders? A crushing win over a title rival under conditions of extreme meteorological duress. Yes, you read right. As if playing a Copa Libertadores participant and the best traveling side in the league and wasn’t enough of a challenge, Mother Nature decided to up the stakes by unleashing a, what can only be described as Biblical, deluge upon, not just La Bombonera, but I’m guessing the majority of Argentinian land which was playing host to a football match today.
Despite the obstacles before them, Los Xenienes were tremendous. So tremendous that surely has the other nineteen teams in the league, at the very least, quaking in their boots. And whilst this is will do the confidence levels of the squad and it’s legion of supporters no end of good, one cannot forget that, for the players and coach Abel Alves, there are now no more excuses. All concerned have shown the level of play they are capable of and, for better or worse, they’ve decided to show it in round 2.
The standard has been set.
This performance is now the benchmark for which all other performances during this years Clausura will be judged. If we continue to play this close to perfection – so close we could smell on it’s breath the pea and ham soup with a side of garlic bread that it had for lunch – for the remaining 17 rounds, the championship trophy will have no choice but to take it’s place in our already mightily congested cabinet.
For those of you who weren’t blessed with the leisure or slow work day time to take in the match beyond the two-and-a-half minute Youtube highlights package someone with far too much leisure or slow work day time had to throw it together, here are the official Boca Offside reasons why this performance is regarded so highly:
- There was hunger, passion, strength and determination from all players, in all positions. Led by the junkyard dog, Gary Medel, each and every man in a soaked through Boca jersey fought for, chased down and attempted to thoughtfully distribute (the fact that these thoughts didn’t always pan out I am putting down to the swimming pool of a pitch they were playing on) every single ball they could.
For the first time in a long time, Boca played like they had a point to prove. To prove that the sun has by no means set on this great club. One moment which encapsulated this effort was in the first half when young defender Ezequiel Munoz, after tumbling to the turf in a challenge, thrust his head at a Lanus player’s foot as it was the only body part he had available to continue fighting for possession with. Outstanding stuff.
- Our defense was solid as a rock. Well, as solid as rock made of Boca Juniors defenders can be, anyway. More solid than English bank Northern Rock, but still not quite as solid as the stunningly colourful rocks which can be found all along the Quebrada de Humahuaca in Argentina’s north-west.
Munoz and Paletta looked very comfortable for large portions and Claudio Morel Rodriguez was excellent on the left, getting forward when possible but never neglecting his defensive duties. Even Hugo Ibarra had a commendable second half, after being largely at fault for Lanus’ equaliser just before half time.
- There was a plan behind each of Boca’s goals. Not just the usual wet weather plan of smash it forward into the box and hope it skids through of someone’s head or is poked home after some in the box pinball antics. Each goal was born out of dry weather football executed superbly in wet weather.
Medel poked home the first on 12 minutes after playing a lovely one-two on the edge of the area with none other than Gabriel Paletta. Whilst that was sweet, Boca’s second was an even sweeter. Barely three minutes into the second half, Nico Gaitan received the ball on the right wing. He shuffled forward, layed it inside to Riquelme on the outskirts of the penalty box, burst inside to receive it back from the number 10 and then played an inch perfect first-time ball across the area to the back post and onto the left boot of the defender-less Martin Palermo. That makes it 12 in 17 for the big man. And the third and final goal came courtesy of a Cristian Erbes header at the near post after a perfect corner from who else but Roman.
- Alves learnt from his first time mistakes. Against Argentinos, Alves got it all wrong by substituting both Nico Gaitan and Juan Riquelme in the dying stages, moves which led us to conceding goals. This time around he replaced Nico with Pablo Mouche, but left Roman on to see out the match. All concerned looked much calmer. And the end result was much more positive.
Before the match got underway, I thought that perhaps our new manager was nothing more than a poor man’s version of Sevilla manager Manolo Jimenez. Both had distinguished careers at the teams they now manage, but whilst Jimenez has gone on to prove himself to be not only a decent player, but also a decent manager, I was musing that perhaps Alves was not quite destined for the same. After his performance tonight, I am willing to retract that thought. For the time being at least. I will now think of him as simply our Manolo Jimenez.
Boca now find themselves second in the standings courtesy of Velez’s superior goal difference. They can’t afford to think this is good enough, however. Taking control of top spot must be the club’s top priority. If they can continue to turn in performances like they did against Lanus, this shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
Here are the highlights: