Sunday, 21 December 2008
Last Tuesday night he attended a seemingly innocuous charity event/dinner to raise funds for the purchase of wheelchairs and to fund community based eating establishments. No problems there then, all above board - JRR doing his bit for the people; now factor in the evenings organisers: La Doce, Boca's infamous hooligan firm. The event was by all accounts a huge success with 500 fans attending and around £6000 being raised. Chanci Riquelme, Roman's younger brother is a good friend of La Doce's top man - Mauro Martin which is how the star's presence was secured. Obviously no one can refuse a good cause and JRR should be applauded for giving up his valuable time before Xeneize's biggest game of the season, however an event hosted by these guys was bound to attract a certain amount of negative publicity in a season that has seen yet more football violence related deaths. Unsurprisingly there have been questions asked about the destination of the funds raised as running one of the country's biggest barra bravas is a costly business.
When questioned about the evening in a press conference JRR gave an Alex Ferguson-like performance. Insisting that the event was for amongst other things an ill child in need of a wheelchair, he was in a position to help so he helped. 'Do the ends justify the means?' asked one brave journalist 'I'm not interested in talking about this, is that so difficult for you to understand? I was there for one hour as an act of goodwill.....................one can be a Boca fan and not necessarily a bad person..........enough, enough!'. Ouch!
The negativity surrounding JRR's guest appearance didn't unduly effect the team as they ran out 3-1 winners against San Lorenzo in last nights second playoff game, although I've seen Riquelme have better games this season. A result against Tigre will see them secure the title.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
- San Lorenzo P18 Pts 36
- Tigre P18 Pts 36
- Boca Juniors P18 Pts 36
It's also worth noting that Lanus in 4th place are in with a slim chance on 34 points, but will be relying on the opposing teams to aid their cause. So with one match remaining we have four teams who can potentially take the title. I can hardly wait until Sunday and as announced by the AFA the fun now starts 2 hours earlier than originally scheduled with all 3 matches kicking of at 5.20pm Argentine time. Another thankyou must go to the AFA for not using goal difference to decide the destination of the title which lessens the endless permutations we would be faced with given the same scenario in England. I'm also not much of a mathemetician. We're faced with the very real chance of a least two way play-off (17th Dec) , possibly a three and even a four way play off (17th, 20th, 23rd Dec) for the Apertura.
Given the British liking for an underdog it would be good to see Tigre take the prize and confidence will be high after coming from 2-0 down last Sunday to beat Rosario Central 3-2. The team from the Parana delta north of the capital came close in 2007's Apertura and their coach Diego Cagna exclaimed 'We are more hungry than Boca or San Lorenzo'. The Killers as they affectionately known have improved dramatically over the last 3 years and have beaten both of their rivals away from home this campaign. A home game against Banfield should see them take the points. History may also be on the side of them if you believe in such things - in the 1968 triangular play-off 'little' Velez won their first Championship against the might of Racing and River.
'There's no team better than us' proclaimed Carlos Ischia, although anyone who watched Boca's plodding draw against Gimnasia La Plata may disagree. Xeneizes face Colon at home on Sunday and will have the added determination to suceed in memory of their recently deceased President Pedro Pompilio and the sidelined Martin Palermo.
Of the three teams San Lorenzo look to have the trickiest game away to Argentinos although coach Russo declared 'I'm calm' during today's press conference. He also pointed out that the margin for error is minuscule in Sunday's matches adding that it's the same for the Ref's too. Maybe a message in there to all officials. Goalscoring hasn't been a problem for them having knocked in 8 in their last 2 games.
So we're all set - chill a Quilmes, grill a steak and get comfortable.