Last night there was supposed to be a party at La Bombonera to welcome back Juan Roman Riquelme after coming back from retirement 8 months ago. The stage was set, Riquelme was given the captain’s armband, his number 10 shirt, the team was designed to revolve around him in his customary position and against a team lying bottom of the table and without a win in 26 games. Union had obviously not read the memo and instead, caused a huge upset, not only ruining the party but heaping further pressure on a seriously misfiring Boca side. READ MORE AND SEE THE GOALS HERE….
The return of the Boca hero had overshadowed not just the buildup to this game but the whole weekend’s fixtures and it was almost forgotten that Boca actually had a game to try and kickstart their awful start to the season. If they could have handpicked an opponent Union would have been high on that list especially at La Bombonera. However, after all the fan fare and jubiliation and the game got underway Boca quickly showed just why they are struggling this season. Early on Boca received a huge let off when Union had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside and it was easy to think that this was Boca’s day but they failed to learn from the mistake. The static backline of Boca has, so far this season, been so easy to bypass and the disallowed strike was a wake up call which was not heeded.
In the 26th minute Union took the lead in similar circumstances to the goal that they had had chalked off. A quick one-two released Damian Lizio and he delicately chipped the ball over the onrushing Agustin Orion. It was a fantastic finish but Carlos Bianchi will be furious to see, yet again, the ease at which teams cut through his porous backline.
10 minutes later it was two when Boca failed to deal with a corner from the right and defender, Bruno Bianchi fired a shot off the inside of the post.
Boca continued to look less than stable at the back but began to see more possession but considering Riquelme had not played in 8 months they looked worringly dependant on him. Every pass went through him and from then almost every shot and chance was as a result of the number 10. Frustration grew as Riquelme tried to haul his team back into the game with a few chances that he either narrowly curled wide or had blocked.
On the hour mark any chance of a Boca comeback was finished when an awful defensive mistake by Guillermo Burdisso was pounced upon. The ponderous Burdisso’s cross field pass was straight to the feet of Andres Franzoia, his shot hit the post but the rebound fell to Pablo Magnin who had the task of tapping the ball in.
Boca continued to push for some salvation and with two minutes remaining they pulled one back. Good work by Cristian Erbes down the right worked the opening and his cross was headed home by Santiago Silva. It was all too late and Union had claimed a historic victory.
Carlos Bianchi still has a lot of work t do with this Boca side if they are to achieve anything this season in both the league and the Copa Libertadores. The slight positives to draw from this are that Riquelme looked pretty sharp and he almost played 90 minutes which allys any worries over his fitness. Although Boca were heavily reliant on him to create anything with further match sharpness perhaps Riquelme would have scored at least one. Unfortunately one area that the returning hero will not help is the defence, which continues to be a problem. Bianchi built his great teams of old on a solid defence and he needs to rectify this current problem as soon as possible.