A game of two halves?

Its been a long wait but the day finally came, Boca began their season. Unfortunately not with the start any of us would have wanted as we were defeated 2-3 despite a spirited second half performance. Even before a ball had been kicked today it was seeming a case of the same old story for Boca. First day of the season and the squad was already hit hard with injures with several first team faces sitting in the stands and mingling among the fans. They were also hit with the first half absence of last years fans player of the year Stefan Borge, only able to make the second half due to work commitments. Another noticeable absentee was Trevor Garcia, who I have previously described as Boca’s very own Ballotelli due to his party attitude. He had seemed to have turned a corner, a regular at training with improved fitness. First day of the season and where could he be found however, yes, that’s right, in Leeds! Enjoying a party, same old story. Rumors have it he might also miss next weeks massive crunch derby with a trip to Sierra. Someone needs to have a word!

Enough about the absentees, their was still a match to be played, and it didn’t start well. Admittedly I missed the opening half hour due to another big match on my schedule, the Manchester derby. I know, I apologize. I am reliably informed however that I had not missed much. Boca were behind within the first 10 minutes from a goal of real quality. They were being outplayed and outrun and seeming to lack confidence. Adrian Lopez (who also made an appearance for Atletico Madrid today late on, witnessing Falcao score 5, yes FIVE!) took the ball on a powerful Yaya like run from his own half and won Boca a penalty. Unfortunately Boca could not take advantage as Kow spurned the chance to equalize from the spot. Although not the worst penalty but not quite in the corner either, maybe practice is needed. Boca seemed to have a foothold in the match from this point but still went into the break trailing 0-1

Last years number 1 fan Vishal Kainth arrived at this point to take his usual place in the stands. He too had been watching the Manchester derby and arrived clearly in the mood after a couple of drinks. The chants began as the fans hoped for a comeback. The crowd was soon silenced however after what can only be described as a comedy goal to concede. The ball was floated in from a set piece on the Boca left, unwillingly flicked on by a the Boca defender and then fumbled into the net by keeper Robert Grech. From our viewpoint in the stands it looked a straight forward catch and must go down as a keeping error. This from a keeper who has been quoted as saying “I don’t need to train, I’m only the keeper”. On this evidence I recommend him to think otherwise. Not the start to the half they wanted, inspiration was needed from somewhere.

The Gafa had also seen enough at this point, Kow was brought off and replaced by Stefan Bosh. Seb Suarez who was a first half replacement himself coming on when Stefan Cumbo gained an injury (I imagine you will here that sentence a lot this year) was moved up top and Bosh took his place on the right wing. Impact was almost immediate as he won a free-kick in a dangerous position. The ball was swung in, landed at the feet of Suarez, knocked it past the keeper with one touch and into the net with the other. The crowd erupted, was the comeback on? Vishal Kainth certainly thought so as he began to chant “We’re gonna win it 3-2, we’re gonna win it 3-2.” Boca pushed on and were now in complete control of the match. A Boca corner came in but was cleared comfortably. The ball was an Adrian’s foot, he flicked the ball over the defense to the direction of the skipper Alvarez. Alvarez returned the favor with a classy back-heel into the direction of Lopez who passed the ball into the far corner left footed. A goal of the season contender already perhaps. Captain Alvarez showing very nice skill for a defender.

Kainth was now chanting at every opportunity beckoning Boca forward, and they were looking dangerous at almost every attack. The game looked to only have one winner after this very spirited fightback. Unfortunately disaster struck, Boca were hit on the counter and conceded a pen. Vishal described the decision as dodgy, but we believe he was playing the role of a blinkered fan, or maybe it was the alcohol? The call seemed justified and even the skipper had no complaints. The penalty was dispatched sending the keeper the wrong way. This did not dishearten Kainth who now began to bellow “We’re gonna win 4-3, we’re gonna win 4-3.” He was now drawing a few laughs and giggles from the crowd for his chants. Were they with or at him? We’ll leave you to decide. Boca were nearly in trouble again moments later as the opposition striker ran through onto a long ball over the top. Alvarez showed why he’s captain however by storming back to make a vital inception, some top class defending.

The game started to heat up at this point as tackles began to fly in. One instance saw 3 or 4 feisty tackles fly in in quick succession. Only the 4th caused the ref to whistle and even then he kept his cards in his pocket. It seemed a lenient stance from a ref who had taken time during the first half to have a word with the Boca bench to insist players remained in their seats. Boca pushed for an equalizer and began to gain a number of dangerous free-kicks  The first was fairly central but sent a distance wide by Neil Robba. The second, in a very good position on the right was completely wasted by Kuka, the ball hardly lifting off the ground, clearly a very tired effort. Time soon ran out, Boca begin the season with a defeat. Loosing after such a spirited comeback can be hard to take, however from how poorly they began some positives can be taken.

Obviously improvements are needed. Fitness still seeming an issues with new signing Makepeace admitting that after the hour he was running on empty. The second would be ball possession, all to often it was given away too easily and ahead of next weeks crunch derby Boca will need to ensure this stat improves. Not the start we wanted, but its early days, and we all still have faith!

Forza Boca!

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