Arsenal vs. Boca – Recopa Sudamericana First Leg Tonight.By: Mauro | August 13th, 2008
Arsenal de Sarandi vs. Club Atlético Boca Juniors (Estadio Juan Domingo Perón – “El Cilindro”, Avellaneda, Argentina)
LIVE @ 3:30pm PST on Fox Sports Español. No Gamecast, sorry. Online TV here.
This Cup, also known as the South American Super Cup, is a two legged affair that pits the winners of the Copa Libertadores and the winner of the Copa Sudamericana against each other. This competition takes the previous year’s winners of the aforementioned cups since it takes place in August during the opening stages of the Sudamericana.
This tournament has taken place since 1989. But then the champions of the Supercopa Sudamericana would compete since the Copa Sudamericana was created to replace that competition.
Boca Juniors had an incredible and dominating run in the 2007 Copa Libertadores which had the rise of Juan Roman Riquelme as part of the process. For tonight’s match, Riquelme will be absent as he is with the Argentine Olympic team. In his place will be either, Cristian Chavéz or Leandro Gracián, who are battling it out. There was some skepticism about whether or not Rodrigo Palacio would be able to take to the pitch due to a nagging injury, but he’ll be ready at game time.
Boca’s current form seems good. They opened up the Argentine Apertura with a 4-0 win over Ginmasia de Jujuy, but the season has just started so we’ll see how they net out tonight.
They’ve managed not to lose any players in the transfer market, in fact, they managed to up the pay scale of all the players on their books and upped their transfer fees. They are basically telling the European clubs, if you want our players, you’ll have to pay for them.
From what I understand, Boca are after Estudiantes de La Plata’s midfielder Ivan Moreno y Fabianesi. But the player seems engaged at the La Plata club and the trail has gone a bit cold in the last week or so. Also, Boca released their back up goal keeper, Pablo Migliore who will be playing with Racing Club.
Also, since winning the Libertadores last year, Boca has changed coaches. Miguel Angel Russo is now with San Lorenzo in Argentina and Boca have picked up former Velez Sarsfield boss, Carlos Ischia.
Arsenal de Sarandi had also had an incredible run to take the Copa Sudamericana. The surprising thing about Arsenal, other than the fact that they’ve won an international cup before they won their local league title, is that they won and played better than the majority of their away matches than their matches at home.
Arsenal’s form has been good as well for just beginning their season. They’ve traveled to Japan recently to play J-League Cup winners, Gamba Osaka in the Suruga Bank Championship. The J-League winners don’t earn a spot in the AFC Champions League so this cup is the consolation prize for that team. Arsenal won the match and the cup 1-0. Their second international title.
Arsenal began their participation in the Apertura with a win over a humble Argentinos Juniors side, 3-0. Argentinos are also participating in the 2008 Copa Sudamericana.
While Arsenal’s leading goal scorer, José Luís Calderon, left the club for Estudiantes de La Plata, Arsenal have brought in former Racing Club striker, Facundo Sava. Also, added to their line up is Guatemalan midifelder José Manuel Contreras. He’s had great showings with his U23 national team and with the Olympics squad. Arsenal also have a new coach, Daniel Garnero, who had various spells as a player with Independiente, Universidad Católica and Toros Neza of Mexico. This is Garnero’s first team as coach.
Arsenal will be the home side tonight and next week, they’ll travel to the “La Bombonera.” Arsenal have decided to play this cup in Racing’s stadium since their ground, Estadio Julio H. Grondona “El Viaducto”, has less than 17,000 seats. The return leg will be in two weeks at “La Bombonera.”
Bottom Line: Boca is still as strong as they would be if Riquelme was able to play for them. They haven’t skipped a beat since the end of last season. While Arsenal do not have the same strength, they might be able to surprise the Libertadores winners tonight with their collective play which has been their strong suit.
My Pick: 2-1 to Arsenal. I’m going out on a limb with this result. Boca could very well crush them with their many attacking options as most of their starting line up is expected to play. But going that way wouldn’t make me a very good River Plate fan.