Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Boca wins Copa Libertadores back for Argentina

For the half-plus-one of Argentina's football fans, the Flag Day had different colours. They are allowed to change the blue and white for the blue and gold as Boca Juniors, led by an incredible performance by Juan Román RIQUELME, won their sixth Copa Libertadores by defeating Gremio (Brazil), 2-0 (5-0 in aggregate) at Porto Alegre.

After two years in which only Brazilian teams got to the final match, the Copa Libertadores is back in Argentina, the country with most titles in the history of the competition (21), followed by Brazil with a distant 13 triumphs.

This is Boca's fourth Copa Libertadores title in this decade alone and they are now just one short of Independiente (also from Argentina with 7) in the list of teams with more silverware in the history of this competition.

There were many differences between the two sides in a contest that was already decided in the first leg with a clear 3-0 win by the Buenos Aires outfit.

But the main factor in the decision of this two-legged final was non-other than Juan Román RIQUELME.

He scored one and participated in the other two goals last week in La Bombonera and tonight he was simply too much for Gremio. He controlled the game at will. He always played the ball safe. And to cap it all, he scored both goals in the game.

The first one was a screamer from the edge of the box. A typical RIQUELME shot, towards the far post and giving the Gremio keeper, Argentine Sebastián SAJA, no chance at all.

Then he capitalized on a rebound given by SAJA after a Rodrigo PALACIO's shot and scored his third overall goal in Copa Libertadores finals.

In his previous two titles (2000, 2001) he only scored a goal in each of the penalty shoot-outs.

Martín PALERMO wasted a golden chance to make it 3-0 by missing a penalty kick in which he didn't even hit towards the goal! Remember Copa America against Colombia and his three penalty misses?

Not that Boca fans really cared about that. They already had the cup in their hands and they are the best team in our continent.

A couple of little things to add...

It was mentioned by the Brazilian TV (O Globo), during the game, that RIQUELME is being closely followed by Juventus as they look to improve their team to start the next Serie A season.

In finals decided between Argentine and Brazilian teams, the advantage is for the Albicelestes as they won 8 out of a possible 11 titles!

Congratulations to Boca Juniors and what I always say...I hope RIQUELME plays for Argentina at least a 10% of what he shows for Boca.

If that's the case, come COCO's list, I'll be looking forward to see his name there. But only if he tries REALLY hard.


johnny said...

Hooray for Boca and Roman ! Madness at the Obelisk. A great performance by the indomitable Cata Diaz as well.

linda said...

Congratulations to Boca. I really think Riquelme should stay, as it seems to be the only place that makes him happy. And when he's happy he can play.

I'm so pleased for him, after such a topsy-turvy season.

John said...

Finally I got my Internet access back!!!

Vamos Boca!!! So looks we will be seeing an Argentine side at the FIFA World Club Championship

But still I’m not too happy to hear about RIQUELME’s inclusion comes at the expense of PINOLA. That’s not fair at all.

One hard work so hard and made so much of sacrifice to earn a spot in the team, while the other took everyone for a ride.

I’m not trying to say that I hate RIQUELME but at the same time I am fanatic supporter of people who show so much of hard work, dedication, passion and willing to walk the extra mile just to earn something that he holds very precious to him.

At this moment I’m puzzled with COCO’s decision and now I guess that most likely he has made up his mind on who he want to play in that enganche role. Whether this is a good idea, only time will tell.

This whole situation reminds me how the world of motor sport got outrage over Ferrari’s (Austrian GP, I guess?) decision to ask Ruben BARICHELLO (who was the race leader) to make way for Michael Schumacher just before the finishing line.

Forgive me for being very emotional but the reality is that no one likes to be treated unfairly.

johnny said...

My big wish is the same as linda's. If only Roman could stay at Boca, be the Boss, which he clearly enjoys, and lead Boca to a string of championships and trophys. Most likely just a nutty dream.

Seba said...

Sorry won't be the case. It's time for Racing to wake up and 40 years after becoming the first Argentine club to win the Intercontinental Cup, add some more glory to our club!

I can feel it coming!