Overcoming hurdles

Vélez won and @VelezinEnglish finds more value in the victory tan just three points.

Aside from the fact that Vélez was in the middle of a slump, the team faced a game that could have made a case against the measure of its progress. The team came into this Atlético Tucumán game in the sixth place. The line against the teams that sit above in the table it's the stuff of horrors: Four games, Four defeats, three goals scored, ten goals conceded. This one wasn't about winning to get back in the Copa Libertadores hunt, it was more about to a get a signature win in a season where there were many victories but none them particularly memorable or had an impact in the standings (Unión maybe).

Vélez was in its own kind of control during the first half: a cautious, extremely patient one where the ball wasn't being passed forward and every attack started with a string of intrincate passes and moves that ended really close to where it all started. Yet the team created very good chances: Almada (Give the kid some rest, he looks as he needs it) missed an unbelievable one, Domínguez fired straight into Lucchetti on a one on one situation and Bouzat tried a lob that eventually his the post. The one that ended in was when Vélez took a quick throw in and put the ball in the box, where Bouzat scored with an excellent placed finish, the footballing equivalent of the northern lights, a rare event worth of seeing, weird yet full of beauty in its own way and long overdue from a player whose workrate, efforts and commitment is endearing despite the lack of offensive production. However, with their direct style, Atlético forced Hoyos into meaningful action too.

As expected, the second half was different as Atlético charged to get something back. As usual Giménez dropped back to form a back three and the midfield loss balance. Meanwhile, Gianetti's efforts were the main reason Vélez held on, throwing his body around to block shots, a reminder of his defensive qualities and an invitation to think of that things could have been better for Vélez if injuries didn't take away long periods of his ongoing career. Then Heinze restructured the midfield and things were quieter in defense (There was the odd scare, though). Near the end, Vélez sealed the win in a very Un-Heinzeball way: A ball from Hoyos went from one edge of the box to the other; Salinas held off one defender, sent the wrong way another one with a smart touch and as Lucchetti came rushing onto him squared to the onrushing Galdames who only had to tap it into an empty net. Bouzat later missed an barely believable one on one, but it didn't matter. The win was on the bag.

I feel that after the Turdera disaster and the chances the team let go to get into Copa Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana qualification would be the only validation for this project (Finishing sixth and avoiding the first round of that League Cup would be a big bonus). Finishing the season empty handed would raise a lot of questions. Even in success some valid questions should be done. This win helps in two ways: The team is well positioned to achieve qualification now and broke a barrier it couldn't before. This one feels like two wins.

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fecha 13 · Superliga 2019-2020

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