Ricardo La Volpe finally got what he wanted. The fighting spirit that he didn't see in his first three games in charge (2 in domestically, 1 in Uruguay) was evident during yesterday's second half against cross town rival Velez Sarsfield. After going down 2-0 and having a man sent off, Boca came out roaring for the second forty-five minutes. Scoring three goals in nineteen minutes gave Boca the three points and gave La Volpe proof that the team is starting to respond to his instructions.
Things are a little less happy across town. Daniel Passarella's River Plate again gave up a late goal and had to settle for a draw at mid-table Belgrano de Cordoba. Passarella is feeling the heat at River, refusing to talk to reporters after the match. He must be worried that his team couldn't kill off a subpar ten-man Belgrano team after being unable to do the same last week against bottom club Colon de Santa Fe. The press will be merciless this week as he tries to get his team ready for El Gran Clasico, River versus Boca, on Sunday.
Look for plenty of prematch hype as most of the attention will be focused on River's form and Boca's miraculous turnaround against Velez. As we get ready for next weekend's fixtures, Boca tops the table with 22 points and lead River by four. Three teams are joint third with 16 points.
On a side note, check out Tim Vickery's latest column. Worth a read for those of you out there that worry about the identity of a club when they move to a new stadium. I get the feeling that some Arsenal supporters out there had the same thoughts when they moved out of Highbury.
Boca stay top [Guardian UK]
Boca's identity [BBC]
Yesterday in Argentina [ESPN Soccernet]