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Drilling down on: at Estudiantes 0, Boca Juniors 3

Argentina Soccer

Boca Juniors’ Pablo Ledesma, partially covered by teammates, celebrates after scoring against Estudiantes de La Plata during an Argentina’s league soccer match in La Plata, Argentina, Sunday, April 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Eduardo Di Baia)


Man of the Match: With apologies to Pochi Chavez, former Gimnasia striker Santiago Silva gets the honors, scoring the first while providing for the third. He created the opener for himself, backing away from an aerial challenge with Leandro Desábato, leaving the defender in no man’s land after misjudging a long throw. Desábato couldn’t recover in time to close down Silva. On the third goal, Silva took Chavez’s pass, moved away from the defensive line at the edge of the area, giving himself room to chip over the top for Pablo Mouche as the line sprinted forward.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Estudiantes came into the match as the last undefeated team in Argentina’s Clausura. After conceding in the ninth minute, there was little doubt that record would fall.
  • In the type of harbinger that only seems foreshadowing after the result’s in the books, Estudiantes’ first attack ended with Juan Sebastián Verón on his butt, having slipped trying to ghost onto a blocked cross. Immediately after the ball went into the stands, La Brujita jumped up and started yelling at right back Gabriel Mercado for playing a ball into the six rather than pulling it back for him. Perhaps Mercado was trying to save Verón some mild embarrassment?
  • Boca played at a pace Estudiantes couldn’t handle. While their spells in possession suggested Estudiantes were in the match, they had nothing in the final third, and every time they turned the ball over, their defense was left holding on for dear life, Cristian Chavez vaulting Boca into their transitions.
  • The second goal exemplified this difference. Desábato’s headed clearance was brought down with a heavy touch by Verón near the center circle. Soon Chavez had it, played it wide to Pablo Ledesma, and within seconds of the Estudiantes turnover, the ex-Catania midfielder had beat his former teammate (Mariano Andujar) for the second goal.
  • With the win, Boca goes top, their 17 points one better than Newell’s Old Boys after eight (of 17) rounds. Their 16 goals are tops on the circuit.
  • It will be interesting to see how Estudiantes recovers. They were never in this match, and while they came into it without a loss, none of their previous results impress. Coming off a 14th-place Apertura finish, this looks like a un leon de papel - ready to slip.