River Struggles Against Banfield
Tonight’s match against Banfield was interesting for many reasons. First, Juan Pablo Carrizo made two crucial mistakes that cost River dearly, but he also created many saves that allowed River to have a sigh of relief. Second, Mariano Pavone played a great match upfront, but he lacked the final touch to put the ball in the net. Third, Ariel Ortega gave River its first goal of the match but that was probably the only play in which he had a positive outcome. Fourth, Coach Angel Cappa was ejected from the match after complaining to the fourth referee, and had to settle watching the match behind an office window. Lastly, defenseman Adalberto Roman scored River’s second goal. It is ironic that a defensive player scored, when the attackers had the whole match to do so. Although the match was not lost, the draw was not that welcomed either.
Already four minutes into the match, and Banfield could have been on top. River’s defense, which was missing Alexis Ferrero, struggled to clear the ball away and paid the price. After a high lobby around River’s net, Juan Pablo Carrizo launched himself to punch the ball away. Unfortunately, he pitifully ‘smacked’ the ball only a few feet and Banfield took advantage of his mistake. Banfield’s Ruben Ramirez was clearly open in front of the net, and tapped the ball inside. How embarrassing it was too see Carrizo make such a horrendous mistake! The look on his face said it all, but the look on Coach Angel Cappa’s face was much more disastrous. Throughout the first half, River’s attackers also found themselves struggling to score. Mariano Pavone and Erik Lamela created few opportunities to score, but Ariel Ortega was responsible for their efforts since he was the player assigned to pass the ball to them.
Before the end of the half, Banfield was awarded a penalty shot when defenseman, Carlos Arano, committed a foul against Banfield’s Ruben Ramirez. As a result, Coach Cappa began to protest the call and was ejected from the match. The possibility of being down 0-2 was realistic, but Juan Pablo Carrizo made sure to not let that happen and blocked the penalty shot. Imagine if the ball would have gone in?!
At the second half, things got better for River. Ariel Ortega recharged during the break, and began to be his normal self on the pitch. Slowly, River took charge on the pitch. At the 60th minute, Mariano Pavone was awarded a penalty shot after a Banfield defender pulled on his jersey in a dramatic fashion. Ariel Ortega took charge of the penalty, and put River on top. Now the match tied, things looked better for River but the illusion lasted minutes when Banfield got back in the lead. Another goalkeeping flaw by Carrizo resulted in a goal. Banfield’s center lobby pass should have been covered by Carrizo, but he was out of place and he saw the ball go inside the net from the ground.
When Diego Buonanotte replaced Ariel Ortega with ten minutes left in the match, I was confident that he would help the team do better. In fact, I even predicted a goal from him. Although my prediction was off, he did play a role when River scored the last goal of the match. His participation resulted in more efficient counterattacks and thorough passes. Adalberto Roman, the Paraguayan defenseman who struggled to maintain his position though out the match, scored a header past Banfield’s net. His goal was welcomed to the large group of fans who went to support River in southern Buenos Aires, and for Coach Angel Cappa who screamed from the top of his lungs after being ejected earlier. The draw is better than a loss, but River needs to improve to stay out of the relegation zone.