“Maradona, if Bolivia was torture, Quito will be your grave”

The knives are out for Maradona. What was a whisper campaign is now leading to high anxiety and open calls. Where is Bilardo? Where is Pekerman? Where is Bianchi? There is serious doubt building up in Albiceleste fans whether Argentina can qualify for the World Cup with Maradona at the helm.
The inspirational quality of Maradona as player is crumbling before Maradona, the clueless manager. To be fair this defeat was not due to Maradona’s faulty tactics as much as it was the team’s inability to put away its chances. Ecuador was always going to be tough at 2,800 meters above sea level. Ironically, it may also mean that Maradona does not realize when inspiration is required.
An enervated Argentinian team that just about won against Colombia at Buenos Aires, stumbled against Ecuador at Quito, 0-2. The Argentinians were greeted before the match with an Ecuadorian daily running the headline saying “Maradona, if Bolivia was torture Quito, will be your grave.”
Maradona made a couple of changes from the Colombia match starting Nicolas Otamendi of Velez over Daniel Diaz and bringing in Boca’s Sebastian Battaglia for Veron. Unlike against Colombia where he raised eyebrows with his formation, the squad maintained a conventional 4-4-2.
The first 20-25 minutes of the first half was all Argentina’s as Messi put on a dizzying display of skills, as he jinked his way though the Ecuadorian defense. He missed out on an opportunity when he failed to put away Heinze’s perfect cross.
A golden chance to go up came to nought when Calos Tevez was brought down by Marcelo Elizaga but the weakly struck penalty kick was gratefully saved by the Ecuadorian goalie.
By the second half the Ecuadorians had taken charge as the Argentinians tired but not before Gago’s shot was saved brilliantly by Elizaga. Two defensive lapses cost the Argentinians dearly as Battaglia failed to deal with a loose ball which led to Walter Ayovi’s brilliantly struck shot from 30 yards left Andujar stranded. It was Ayovi again putting through Palacios as Dimechelis failed to deal with the pass for the second goal. Battaglia was replaced by Veron who could not inspire his team.
If the match against Colombia was a rorschach of Maradona’s muddled thinking, the Ecuador was a corrective but it was the execution that failed.
After the match Maradona was defensive:
” The players did everything that was asked of them and we have now committed ourselves to beating Brazil.”
“They were unable to find anything in the first half and in the second they found two, for which we are sorry but this team is on the rise.”
The question for Maradona was not whether Argentina could qualify, but whether it could do so with conviction. The damage has been done.

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2 comments on ““Maradona, if Bolivia was torture, Quito will be your grave”
  1. Maradona no doubt is a living legend. Unfortunately he is unable to live up to that reputation as a coach. It is quite clear now that a great player need not be a good coach. Maradona’s Argentina risks being ousted out of the 2010 World cup even before the event actually kicks off.
    Argentina is clearly missing the Riquelmes and the Crespos. There is no substitute for experience – it is more than obvious that individual stars arent enough to win matches – what we need are team players.
    Where is Aimar, Riquelme, Crespo, Cambiaso? Where is Pekerman?
    Maradona, please make way for Coaches who know what it is to coach.

  2. Having to wait 4 years for the time to come again, i think we can save ourselves more self-torture by uniting in asking Diego to step away, its clear he is not cut out to be a manager, as much as he is a living legend, he should call it quits now than to be banished by the nation on a potentially looming failure. We should do everything in our power to get Bielsa back in the fray, i understand his arrogance and over confidence in 2002 was uncalled for, but i think he’s learnt from that and right now, he is out of this world, the way he has transformed Chile and got them playing, makes them not only a team to stand up and look at but he has them playing in a beautiful and eye pleasing way. The methods he’s used to bring out the best of some of their star talents is outstanding. I beg the nation to make a stance, we will let another generation of star talent pass by without winning that world cup! I personally believe a touch of politics comes into it, the omission of Riquelme, the overlooking of Higuain, Cambiasso, Samuel etc it just seems a bit iffy! I have waited so long for this world cup glory, please make a stance! AGUANTE ARGENTINA

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