Inter Take The Libertadores.By: Mauro | August 19th, 2010
With the Beira-Rio in all it’s glory, bathed in 50,000 + red shirts and lit with red flares, the drama started early. Really early. During the national anthems, in fact.
The Brazilian band hired to play the anthems cut the Mexican anthem short and to show their displeasure, Adolfo “El Bofo” Bautista walked away and started warming up while his teammates started talking to each other DURING the Brazilian anthem. Of course, the Beira-Rio started to boo the Chivas team immediately.
Inter came out looking to close the book early on in this match. Chivas was forced to take a reactionary role where they were forced back into their penalty area. So much so that it wasn’t odd to see Omar Bravo in the penalty area helping to clear crosses. And what that created was a Chivas side that could get the ball in their half but without enough players forward to create any kind of danger on Inter’s penalty area.
But still, the physicality of Omar Bravo and El Bofo still warranted some tight marking by the Inter defensive line. Without the ball, Chivas resorted to some rough play including a couple of hard fouls on Andrés D’Alessandro by Patricio Araujo.
The word was out, D’Alessandro was a wanted man. In the last 15 minutes of the first half, Chivas came out of the back a little and had a couple of great plays where Omar Arellano, Omar Bravo and El Bofo found each other in Inter territory. But overall, the first half was mostly Inter’s who dominated with possession and open play, finding each other in the spaces that Chivas left for them.
But again, in the waning minutes (Celso Roth take a note here already) of the first half Omar Bravo headed the ball in the penalty area that he angled toward Marco Fabian who, in spectacular fashion, buried the ball into the net with his back to goal and over an Inter defender. With only two or three minutes left in the half, Inter could not react.
1-0 to Chivas at the half. And you could hear a pin drop in the Beira-Rio.
With the lead, Chivas began to take advantage of Inter’s desperation and stood a little closer to Renan’s goal. But when Inter got the ball from Chivas, they had a clarity and ability to get to the Chivas penalty area almost at will. And Chivas’ players weren’t altogether connected. They missed final passes or didn’t see an open teammate which meant that they didn’t turn the possessions they had into something fruitful.
Rafael Sobis’ hard work finally paid off in the 61st minute. Off a fantastic play where D’Alessandro, Tinga and then Kleber combined to leave Rafael Sobis face to face with Chivas keeper Luis Ernesto Michel.
1-1. The stadium exploded. The crowd chanted and my mouth drops at the replay of Kleber’s fantastic cross from the right.
But the match took a physical turn and that started with an interaction between Bolivar and Bravo, a play that earned the Brazilian central defender a yellow. From that point on, whenever there was a 50-50 ball, the Chivas players would follow through a little too rough and that play began to punctuate the match including a terrible play where Héctor Reynoso literally punched Sobis in the back away from the eyes of the referee.
In the 75 minute, Chivas’ innocence showed in the face of such a big event. A back pass to their defensive line was poorly executed and Leandro (with fresh legs having come on just 2 minutes earlier) took full advantage and ran the ball down, past two more Chivas defenders and took a shot that went off Michel, ending up in the back of the net.
2-1 to Inter. Right? Wrong.
Chivas desperately searched for the equalizer that would allow them back into this match. But they found little space or didn’t have enough players up front to really create some continuous danger. Chivas deflated after Inter’s second goal. But the match was not over yet.
With the match out of their hands, Omar Arellano, with a studs up tackle, took his turn at taking down D’Alessandro earning himself a straight red. Red card for Chivas.
On the ensuing play, Reynoso took down D’Alessandro again with an elbow to the back narrowly dodging his own red card. The match was slipping from Chivas and instead of looking to play football, it seemed they resorted to cheating, playing roughly and disgracing themselves.
In the 89th minute, Inter extended their lead. Marked by two Chivas defenders, Giuliano gets the ball at the edge of the area and while both defenders expected him to take a shot, he flicked the ball between both defenders and then followed the ball through them only to then also beat Chivas keeper Michel.
Ok, now it’s over. 3-1 to Inter.
Well, not really. Because Inter’s players and their fans, may have started celebrating a bit too early. And in the waning minutes (Again, Celso Roth, take a note man!!) Chivas was able to win a free kick just outside the penalty area. El Bofo takes a rocket of a free kick and it rebounds off the crossbar into Bravo’s path where he scores for Chivas.
Too little. Too late. 3-2 to Inter. Final Score. Nail, coffin. Jello, giggling.
But I wish the drama was over. It wasn’t.
The rumor is that one of the younger assistants that was brought onto the pitch to put together the stage for the trophy ceremony, spat and yelled at Marco Fabian. Hector Reynoso retaliated by walking over towards the Inter players and swinging at someone who looked like an assistant coach. All hell broke loose. I saw white Chivas shirts surrounded by red Inter shirts. I saw old men (possibly part of the coaching staff?) swinging and kicking at Chivas players and by the time everyone was broken up Patricio Araujo had a split eyebrow.
Shameful hosting by the Brazilian side. From the beginning to the end. CONMEBOL should be ashamed that a team that is basically invited to this tournament is treated this way. So disrespectful. I hope they step up and demand sanctions be paid or prize money be withheld.
I had his match going 1-1. I gave Chivas way more credit than they deserved. When the going got tough, they resorted to rough, dirty play and in then end, got their just desserts. This is an international final match and if tough times show what you’re made of this does not bode well for Chivas. But still, they are a young side that could make another run, which I fully expect them to if they qualify for the Copa Libertadores 2011, and I hope they do. I always, sincerely, enjoy the Mexican clubs’ participation in this tournament.
Inter on the other hand, played a great match. When their playmaker D’Alessandro was marked out of the game, Tinga and Guiñazu stepped up and played out of their skins. In the end, Chivas didn’t have enough fingers to plug all the holes on the pitch. Inter had too many talented players and Chivas couldn’t stop them all. And when Inter need a goal, they MUST put on Giuliano. Giuliano = Goals. Period.
I hope you all enjoyed tonight’s match. It was an epic affair with a little too much drama for my taste. I find that matches like tonight’s are the reason why European clubs and fans don’t take our leagues and continent seriously. Imagine C. Ronaldo getting spat at by a stadium worker. Unthinkable.
Well, I’d like to thank my readers for picking up my blog again. I know I only covered the end of this tournament but it was fantastic to get back to it. Please stay tuned to my other blog, Copa Sudamericana. There are some good match ups coming our way and the last two years have been pretty good.