After the trip to Lanús, @VelezinEnglish celebrates that the team showed some steel
What is a Copa de la Superliga? Not even those in charge of Argentinian football can answer that question. It's a change from what we're used to see, but knockout football doesn't bring happy memories for this team (And for us). A more welcome change was that away fans could attend the game (At a very high price though). Fortín Nation duly obliged and showed up in big numbers to support the team. They were in there for a treat.
I'd like to talk about football and what happened on the pitch, but first I need to make a thing clear: I can't say whether Espinoza and his crew are inept or corrupt (After a second game in a row against Lanús and the Delfino performance three weeks ago, I find hard to believe they are the useless bunch of clowns they showed to be). But in either case they should be nowhere close to a football pitch.
This was the kind of victory that Vélez never got in the Superliga: Every call went against Vélez, the game got feisty but the team refused to be pushed over and got that signature win that this season lacked, imposing its quality and will to defeat a bit more than opposition. It wasn't all about guts and resilience, there was also some substance to it, some of the #Heinzeball core tenets were also there. There was also some luck, it has to be said that the score ended up this way because El Fortín caught a break for once: With 20 minutes to go, Sand missed his penalty and shortly after Almada scored the winner with a nice placed shot. After that the team imposed its will.
It wasn't perfect: Hoyos had a poor game, De La Fuente had problems with both Acosta and De La Vega and played on on the edge of a red card, Almada couldn't assert his skill on one-on-ones before he scored and Leandro Fernández missed a clear chance to give a few examples. But there were high points too: After Giannetti's send off, Abram took over the control of the defense and was imperious, even if he had a tough shift against Sand; Bouzat covered insane amount of ground to help De La Fuente; Nico Domínguez worked very well in tandem with Giménez first and then with Galdames, who also came in and put in a really good shift himself. There's plenty to feel good about too.
But there's a caveat to this win: It's obviously a great result, but there's another leg to be played at home. If the team can't seal the deal in Liniers, these words won't be longer valid, the release of anger and joy after the game will feel like hubris and that feeling of getting one over the corrupted powers would give room to that awful feeling of hopelessness. Let's get it done.