Opening Weekend’s action in the Clausura was rather humdrum (downright depressing for some of us). Lots of scoreless draws. It can be hard to get a feel for where things will go in this tournament after just one fixture, so I won’t jump to any hasty conclusions. Fortunately there’s been some juicy midweek shenanigans to munch on, so we can feast on that.
Looking Back: Boca Juniors won their opening match against Olimpo handily (2-0), as I begrudgingly predicted they would.
The big winners were Lanús, who I described last week as the Aston Villa of Argentina, and Atlético Rafaela. Lanús turned in a very un-astonvilla performance, defeating San Lorenzo 4-1. Rafaela beat Banfield 3-0. Banfield have been in free-fall ever since Falcioni left for Boca last year, but they’re still looking okay in the relegation table.
San Lorenzo kicked off their desperate “avoid relegation at all costs” campaign in the worst way possible. The ship is sinking, the red alert is flashing, and the captain has already been airlifted away in a helicopter (not literally), leaving the passengers to fight for the lifeboats. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s definitely not looking good.
Should I even mention Independiente’s 1-0 loss to San Martin? Ugh. Frustrating. Moving on.
The real story of the weekend was all the boring draws. Holy crap: four scoreless draws and two 1-1 draws. That’s worse than Serie A. MOAR GOOOLZ PLZ. kthxbai
Midweek Gossip and Other Nonsense: This section has been dominated by the Roman Emperor Saga. That’s a reference to the on/off love/hate relationship between Juan Román Riquelme and Julio César “The Emperor” Falcioni. The fact is, JRR is a douche of gigantic proportions who wields way more power at Boca Juniors than any thirty something midfielder with chronic recurring injuries rightfully should. It’s happened before: if JRR doesn’t like the manager, the manager gotsta go.
This week, Boca flew to Venezuela for what should have been an easy win against Insert Shitty Venezuelan Club Name Here, but came back with 1 pt and no goals. Riquelme was allegedly upset with Falcioni because he couldn’t play well with the other midfielders the coach put on the pitch. After the match, they engaged in a verbal fight so heated, Falcioni went to club president Daniel Angelici and tendered his resignation. Angelici then spent the entire flight back to Buenos Aires trying to talk him out of quitting.
Most of Wednesday on Twitter and in the Argentine sports media went something like this: “OMG FALCIONI QUIT WTF!” “WAIT NO HE DIDN’T.” “NO HE TOTALLY DID.” Etcetera, until Angelici finally released a statement sometime before midnight announcing that Falcioni would stay. That was a close one.
As an active Boca hater, let me tell you that I did derive much joy in witnessing the turmoil and the potential torpedoing of Boca’s year. Riquelme himself started catching shit from his previously faithful fans for being a such a huge dick. Apparently the fans have finally realized that Falcioni is more vital to Boca’s success this year than Riquelme ever will be, unreliable as he is.
Looking Forward: Week Dos kicks off tonight when Olimpo face Belgrano (snoozers) and Vélez gets an easy win against Banfield. Seriously, Olimpo are dead last on the relegation table with no chance of clawing their way out. It’s kinda sad, really.
On Saturday, I wouldn’t mind watching Rafaela try to defend their #2 spot in the table against Arsenal. Not the Arsenal from North London, mind you. Rafaela could totally beat those bums. Arsenal de Sarandí is another story.
On Sunday, Independiente has a trial by fire against #1 Lanús. If Ramón “Buzzcut” Diaz can find some offense in his Red Devils lineup, Lanús could be in trouble. Otherwise, I’m in for some more tears in my beer. San Lorenzo will struggle to avoid being annihilated by Estudiantes, and it might be fun to watch Boca v. Unión just to see if Riquelme and Falcioni try to murder each other.