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Hello fans! Nacional had a pretty important Libertadores Cup game this week, and El Bolso is here to tell you about it. Let’s get to it!


Jokers and Thieves


He may look like Charles, but this week he coached like Buddy. (YouTube)
He may look like Charles, but this week he coached like Buddy. (YouTube)


Last week was pretty disappointing for the Tricolores. On Thursday, the Robbery in Rosario happened (kinda like the Thrilla in Manila or the Rumble in the Jungle, except the Colombian ref was way shadier then Don King). Then, coach Gustavo Munúa hit the panic button and rested 10 starters (even the goalie!) against one of the  better teams in the local league, Plaza Colonia. A 2-0 loss to the “Pata Blanca” (The White Foot) cost Nacional a chance to leap over Peñarol in the Annual table, and left them in second place, behind… Plaza Colonia. I know the Libertadores is a big deal, and after the way Nacional lost those 2 points against Rosario Central this week’s game was pretty important, but come on! 10 subs? I think Munúa overthought that one a little bit.


Anyway, with Nacional having gone all in on the Libertadores, the game against fellow Uruguayans River Plate was now a must win. For one thing, River figured to be the easiest rival in the group, so the Tricolores needed those 6 points like Cristiano Ronaldo needs adulation. Second, everyone in the group was tied at a point a piece after round 1, so a win would create some early distance between Nacional and their group rivals, so they don’t have to rely on miracles down the road. And third, It’s Juan Ramón Carrasco! Who doesn’t love rubbing his face in it every so often? Ideally, Nacional would come away with 3 points, and so would Palmeiras in their home match against Rosario. Two teams move on to the next round and the Brazilians look to be the strongest of the other 3 teams, so the further River and Rosario sink in the standings the better.


Yes, the Freaking Refs Again


Referee Víctor Carrillo and his assistant having a hearty snack post game. (YouTube)
Referee Víctor Carrillo and his assistant having a hearty snack post game. (YouTube)


This is not a game I want to discuss in depth. Both teams were pretty bad, there was not a lot of action, and a scoreless tie is probably the just result. Having said that, this game was not a scoreless tie. Leandro Barcia scored a goal in the 69th minute and Nacional should have taken home the 3 points. Unfortunately, there are two people on Earth who didn’t see the goal: Peruvian referee Víctor Carrillo, and his linesman. I mean look at this shit!!! How, in the name of all that’s holy and good, do you not see that the ball is in the goal?


I guess CONMEBOL didn’t get the memo: Gianni Infantino is the new FIFA president, and he has such a good relationship with our Association President that one of his first acts as head of FIFA will be a visit to Uruguay later this month. So kindly stop screwing us over. It’s tacky, and unbecoming, and the era of international soccer federations being wholesale embarrassments is coming to a close. Get your act together, or we’ll get uncle Gianni to sic the FBI on you… er, again. If there’s anyone left at the CONMEBOL offices not wearing a striped jumpsuit, that is.


Anyway, Nacional was the better team, but not by much, and they did score a goal, but for the second week in a row suspect refereeing cost them 2 points. On the bright side, Carrasco was shown a red card for being his usual ornery self, and of course he refused to leave, so police operatives had to convince him to hit the showers. So that was fun. But the rest of ths game can fuck itself right in the ear. Let me tell you fans, when I googled Víctor Carrillo, the first result that came up was a dentist that practices in my area, and I had half a mind to drive to his office and leave a nasty note on the door. That’s how mad El Bolso was this week.


Tough Road Ahead


Mr. President, how many times has Nacional been robbed in this Libertadores so far? (Huffington Post)
Mr. President, how many times has Nacional been robbed in this Libertadores so far? (Huffington Post)


So now what? Well, if you want to look at the bright side, Nacional has outplayed both of their rivals so far, and haven’t lost any points on their own account. They are still in second place (tied with River) and are still very much alive in te race for a berth in the next round. But come on now. This team should have 6 points and be all alone in first place, 5 points clear of third place. Plus, it’s going to be tough to get positive results playing 11-on-12. So we’ll see what happens. Next up are a pair of games against group leader Palmeiras. If Nacional stick to their plan, and the referees in those games aren’t wearing Palmeiras green, then the Tricolores could be on track for a knockout round spot. Otherwise, it mightbe yet another short post series this year. I’m feeling good about this one fans. Let’s hope CONMEBOL designates an actual competent human being for the next one.


No Pasión Pasión today, because this tournament doesn’t fucking deserve Javier Moreira’s heavenly voice. See you next time!

About El Bolso

El Bolso is Uruguay’s foremost soccer-fan-in-exile, a true authority on the Celeste and its favored son, the Club Nacional de Football. He believes in precision passing, tireless marking, and strong finishing, and is not above the occasional slide tackle from behind when the situation calls for it.