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Hello fans! El Bolso is here again. Pretty big game in Montevideo this week, so let’s take a look!


Glass Half Full

The party at the Gran Parque Central was lots of fun, but someone forgot to invite Mr. Goal. (Youtube)
The party at the Gran Parque Central was lots of fun, but someone forgot to invite Mr. Goal. (Youtube)


So Nacional had their first game in the knockout stages of the Libertadores Cup, at home against Brazil powerhouse Corinthians (if the team nickname is not Leather then these people just cannot be helped). This was a pretty entertaining game, with both teams playing for the win in the first half, and Nacional taking over control of the match in the second (Corinthians did not have a shot on goal after halftime). However, neither team was able to put one in the net, so there’s not really much to talk about here. The scoreless tie leaves the bracket wide open for next week’s return game in Sao Paulo.


So is this a good result or a bad one? Well, that’s debatable. Not getting the win at home, especially when Nacional was the better team, is definitely not a plus. When you play the home half of a tie first, you really want to put pressure on your opponent with a win, and doubly so when you’re playing a Brazilian team, as there’s a pretty high probability that, em… irregularities will happen in the second match (biased refereeing, crowd abuse, local police busting into your locker room at halftime and threatening you with guns, etc.)


BUT, there are a couple of silver linings to look at for our boys. First of all, a scoreless tie is the best possible kind of tie to get at home, by a country mile. That means going into the next game knowing that, if nothing changes in the next 90 minutes, you’re going to PKs. Had Corinthians gotten an away goal or two, then a scoreless tie in Sao Paulo would eliminate Nacional. It also means that any tie other than a scoreless tie will now advance the Tricolores, so if they can get an early goal that forces Corinthians to get 2 goals. Nacional can move on with a win, any tie other than a scoreless tie, or a scoreless tie and PK mastery.


Second, this is a road tested team, and just the kind of squad that can go into Sao Paulo and get a positive result. In 3 away games so far in the tournament, the Tricolores won one (in Sao Paulo no less, although Palmeiras is no Corinthians this season), tied one in Montevideo, and were egregiously robbed of a win against Rosario Central. so they have shown that they have what it takes to play home teams tough. They’ll just have to do it one more time, and hope the police stay out of the locker rooms.


Cup Runneth Over



Since there wasn’t that much excitement at the Parque Central, how about a quick Luis Suárez update? HO. LY. SHIT! Two weeks ago Barcelona were reeling, fans. They had blown a 10 point lead in La Liga and had just been knocked out of the Champions League bu Atlético Madrid, and they were looking like they couldn’t beat an over 30 neighborhood team. Their biggest star, TBGDPITWW, had fallen into a scoring drought that had left him 5 goals behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and it really looked like the team would go from the smart money pick to repeat the Liga/Cup/CL treble to winning bupkus.


Of course, it’s when the going is toughest that you see what people are made of, and apparently Luis Suárez is made of goals. TBGDPITWW has been spectacular over the past 10 days, scoring 4 goals (YES, 4 BLEEPING GOALS) in an 8-0 road win against Deportivo La Coruña, and then 4 more (YES, 4 GOALS AGAIN) just 4 days later as Barcelona thrashed Sporting de Gijón 6-0 at home. If you’re really bad at the maths, that means 8 goals in 4 days. It was the 7th and 8th career pokers for TBGDPITWW, and the first time anyone (ANYONE) has had back-to-back 4 goal games in the history of La Liga.


I mean, what more does the man have to do. TBGDPITWW is once again leading the race for the UEFA Golden Boot with 34 goals, 3 more than Ronaldo. He is also La Liga’s top assist maker, with 15 (Lionel Messi and Atlético’s Koke have 13). So he’s not just a scoring machine; he’s the perfect weapon. More importantly, he’s allowed Barcelona to stay in first place (on goal differential versus Atlético) and regain their mojo ahead of the season’s last few weeks. El Bolso calls him TBGDPITWW for a reason fans. Here, take a look at this compilation of all 8 goals. Enjoy yourselves.


That’s all for me this week, fans. See you next time, when I will hopefully be telling you about another impressive Nacional road performance!

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.