Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clausura 2011 - Promotion Playoffs

Argentinean football is living a historic moment with River, the most successful team in the league with 33 championships and one of the biggest teams in the continent, only 90 minutes away from getting relegated to 2nd division.

Over 100 years in 1st division (80 since professionalism started in 1931 + 20+ of amateurism) were in risk on Wednesday and once again this disoriented River team, coached by a guy that seems like he doesn't know what he's doing, didn't step up and lost 2-0 against a decent Belgrano team who did everything right.
Now River needs to win by 2 goals or more to stay in 1st division, and since they were only able to do it once this year (2-0 vs Huracan back in the 2nd round of Clausura), their future doesn't look promising at all.
To make things worst they will miss some experienced players and mood in the team is not good at all.

River fans this days are divided in two groups : some are dead depressed and feel like they are already relegated and some are crazy mad and just want to break everything no matter Sunday's result.
I have a couple of friends in the first group, and those in the second group (mostly the famous "barras bravas" (hooligans)) were part of some riots during the game (it was interrupted for 20 minutes) and also on Thursday afternoon trying to break into the stadium even though it was closed.

At some moment the game was going to be played behind closed doors, but it was finally decided to play it with fans in the stadium (probably to prevent even bigger disasters) and with 2500 policemen !!!

The 1st leg on Wednesday broke some ratings records on TV, and was by far the most watched game in Argentina this year, even more than the last Boca-River, and the 2nd leg on Sunday will have even bigger ratings for sure because there's no TV or radio show in this country that doesn't talk about what is happening with River.

How is this going to end ? Nobody knows, but the only thing for sure is that the whole country will be watching on Sunday a game that will be talked about for years by every football fan in Argentina.
Everybody expects River to become River again. The team that dominated so many years...will they finally step up or will Sunday be a historic day ?

Meanwhile, Gimnasia easily won the playoff against the poor Huracan who got relegated for the 4th time in 25 years.
Gimnasia will play the promotion playoffs for the 3rd year in a row, this time against Nacional B 3rd placed team, San Martin de San Juan. The 1st leg at San Juan will be played on Sunday, a few hours after River - Belgrano.

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