Man in black causes Avellaneda aggro again
Ã¢ÂÂIn an uncommon reaction, Russo wasnÃ¢ÂÂt angry with the referee, despite losingÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ Sunday newspaper headline
Coaches blaming referees for a defeat is par for course around the world. But the knife-sharpening ahead of this weekendÃ¢ÂÂs Independiente-Racing clash meant that the man taking charge of the Avellaneda derby would be under more scrutiny than most.
Given that Racing lost to a solitary goal Ã¢ÂÂ scored from 12 yards Ã¢ÂÂ and played half an hour with 10 men, Miguel ÃÂngel Russo had plenty of material to deflect attention away from the problems at home, but he preferred not to talk about the referee.
Everybody else did.
OlÃÂ© were satisfied with the man in blackÃ¢ÂÂs performance. "He was right on the penalty and the two red cards," wrote the sports daily, "but he made conceptual mistakes." Beg pardon? "He didnÃ¢ÂÂt use his linesman."
In the scheme of things, Ã¢ÂÂnot consulting assistantsÃ¢ÂÂ is in the lower leagues of gripes with match officials. This being a clÃÂ¡sico though, the clubs had built up a head of steam before the first challenge was lunged in anger.
But rather than overpaid and uncouth footballers stirring up trouble, it was the allegedly overpaid and definitely uncouth club directors doing it.
"A week ago, Independiente were thrashed by the VÃÂ©lez B team," sneered RacingÃ¢ÂÂs president Rodolfo Molino. Racing only won the clÃÂ¡sico with San Lorenzo because of an offside goal, retorted the neighbour.
Independiente president Julio Comparada, meanwhile, Ã¢ÂÂunderstoodÃ¢ÂÂ that Ã¢ÂÂpeopleÃ¢ÂÂ were Ã¢ÂÂworriedÃ¢ÂÂ about the referee. "In the last seven years Racing havenÃ¢ÂÂt had one penalty. Independiente have had six," jousted the Racing camp.
Outside the boardroom and on the pitch, the penalty argument fell down after 41 minutes when Racing full-back Brian Lluy literally handed Independiente a seventh penalty against their local rivals in eight years.
DarÃÂo GandÃÂnÃ¢ÂÂs cheeky finish from the spot verged on the provocative, but OlÃÂ© thought that it was Mr MolinoÃ¢ÂÂs fault all along.
"DonÃ¢ÂÂt you think you are inciting violence?" enquired the paper in midweek.
"Anyway," responded the Racing presidente, with little attention to grammar, or perhaps just not hearing the question and planning his next tirade, "he [Comparada] launched the first missile."
The battle between Racing and Independiente will carry on, regardless of who presides over events in Avellaneda, but one thing is starting to ring true Ã¢ÂÂ Racing simply cannot beat Americo Ã¢ÂÂToloÃ¢ÂÂ Gallego.
Not with River, not with NewellÃ¢ÂÂs, and, more importantly, not with Independiente Ã¢ÂÂ Tolo has never lost to Racing. As optadiego would perhaps put it: Daddy.
Racing and Independiente werenÃ¢ÂÂt the only ones with concerns over the refereeing, although when HuracÃÂ¡n prepared to take on league leaders VÃÂ©lez, it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt a problem of what might happen. It was what had already happened.
"Those who win you call CHAMPIONS. Those who steal you call THIEVES," read the Monopoly-money 100 peso notes handed out before the game for Globo fans to throw at the supposed 'ladrones'. (Note: FourFourTwo has neither idea nor opinion on why false money was handed out before this game...)
It will take several years, if not aeons, for HuracÃÂ¡n to forget having their league title 'stolen' last June in the Clausura Ã¢ÂÂ09.
VÃÂ©lez played HuracÃÂ¡n on the final day of that season in what boiled down to a title decider. HurÃÂ¡can needed a single point to be champions, VÃÂ©lez needed a win.
HurÃÂ¡can had played glorious football all season. They were everyoneÃ¢ÂÂs second team. Coach ÃÂngel Cappa was God. With less than five minutes to go, and at 0-0, a shocking foul on the Globo keeper left him stretched out on the ground and in agony. There was no whistle. Maxi Moralez scored for VÃÂ©lez and the title was theirs.
Since that day last June, VÃÂ©lez have kept their squad and their form. HuracÃÂ¡n have lost their coach, their players, and their position in the league.
The 3-2 win for HuracÃÂ¡n at the weekend will not heal the scars of the Clausura 09, but it sure felt good in Parque Patricios.
VÃÂ©lez losing gave other teams an opportunity to leapfrog them in the table. CÃÂ³lon grabbed a point against Central to go top while Godoy Cruz joined them on points.
If the idiot with the three-metre flagpole had stopped trying to take out Argie BargyÃ¢ÂÂs eye out for 90 minutes perhaps thereÃ¢ÂÂd be a closer analysis of Godoy CruzÃ¢ÂÂs title chances, but that will have to wait for another week...