Cappa takes charge of River Plate

BUENOS AIRES - Angel Cappa signed as coach of River Plate on Wednesday and will make his debut in Saturday's home match against leaders Godoy Cruz in the Argentine Clausura championship.

Daniel Passarella, former River captain and coach who inherited the badly indebted "Millionaires" on winning the club presidency in December, turned to Cappa to try to pull the team out of a downward spiral towards relegation.

"River have won a lot (of titles) playing good football. That's their tradition and it's the style I'll be sticking to, that I believe in," Cappa told his first news conference as the team's coach.

Cappa, a 63-year-old Argentine based in Spain, enhanced his reputation as a coach who espouses a passing game with a strong emphasis on attack when he steered Huracan to second place in last season's Clausura.

However, River are mired in their worst ever season. They have scored only eight goals in 14 games in the Clausura and none in the last five on a run of 465 minutes without finding the net, in total contrast to their tradition.

With debts putting paid to big name signings, Cappa will have to make do with the present squad's mix of ageing veterans and players down on confidence.

River are in a dangerous position in the relegation averages over three seasons. A poor 2010-11 season would push them towards the brink of relegation for the first time.

"I'm conscious that it's a risk to take charge in these conditions, but first I want to face these five matches (left in the Clausura) in which we have to improve and make the most of the time to evaluate the squad," Cappa said.

"River have good players but it's imperative that we reverse this situation. River cannot resign themselves to being in the bottom places (in the table) because they are sufficiently great to be in the leading positions and count on a quality squad."

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