ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: Boca Juniors won Argentina’s National A Division fairly by seven points ahead of second-placed River Plate even without a 30th round that should never have been played.
A one-round 30-team championship should have only 29 rounds with each team meeting the other once. But the Argentinian FA which does everything but organise the game properly, decreed that each team should play another game, so that Boca Juniors and River Plate can play twice.
Whatever the result, River Plate could not catch Boca Juniors at the top.
Although River have most league titles, Boca are the leaders in all titles won with 66 comprising 32 leagues, 12 national cups and 22 international cups. River Plate lag behind with 61 titles.
All clubs have injuries and suspended players but Boca Juniors could only field the same team twice from one match to the next. Yet for one bad spell they were the most regular team.
For the first time in 10 years Boca will also finish with with the season’s top scorer Dario Benedetto with 19 goals. The previous one was Martín Palermo.
Benedetto scored a percentage of 0,79 per game and a goal every 93 seconds.
Twelve of the players were lined up by Boca in the league win two years ago. But better things could come. Boca made a profit of 80 million pesos in the last financial year (what they owe in taxes, etc. is another story) and they aim to spend it all on some leading players.
River sold their best striker Sebastian Driusi – the league’s second highest scorer – to Russian club Zenit. They collect the €15m, the clause for ending his contract with them, but they are not going to get a replacement of the same category for that money.
Now they are suffering from several doping cases. Two have been confirmed and now, it is said, there are six.
If there are more than two the rule is to eliminate the team from the tournament — in this case the Copa Libertadores.
Former Vélez Sarsfield goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert has no faith in the South American confederation CONMEBOL.
He said: “We beat River Plate without doped players but unfortunately River Plate’s president Rodolfo D’Onofrio practically rules CONMEBOL and his club’s most powerful weapon is his desk.”
River Plate’s doctor says that he gives the players the same pills all the time and insists that the latest lot had been contaminated.
Before the 2014 World Cup, Mexican coach Miguel Herrera prohibited his players to eat rare meat. There had been incidents in the past of the production of steroids which produce the reduction of body fat temporarily and increase the muscles.
This proved positive in drug tests. Five players were separated from the team but later they were absolved from being suspended because the Mexican FA showed that there had been a minor epidemic in Mexico City affecting some 500 people.
Pablo Lavallén became the 29th coach to leave his club, Atlético Tucuman this season and one wonders how many more coaches will leave now that the tournament has ended.
Relegated Quilmes have ended the contracts of their seven most expensive players and also said that they would not be able to pay any injured players.
One player has left in protest already and the others did not turn up for training. Quilmes owes so much money in players salaries and other things that one cannot see how they will be able to carry on.