Tiros Libres: Heroes For A DayBy: Christian | May 5th, 2010
Photo courtesy La Página Millonaria
With the season mercifully drawing to a close, it’s difficult to find many positives to take away from this season. Things seem to have improved with the arrival of Ángel Cappa, but there was the same feeling from River fans last year when Leo Astrada took over as manager, and we all know how that worked out.
Still, two recent developments regarding two of the club’s brightest stars, one an emerging talent, the other a beloved legend, have given even the most disheartened River fan cause to smile.
Last Friday’s 2-1 win over Vélez Sársfield was a spirited victory, featuring one of the better, attacking performances from the squad this year. But it was the winning goal by Diego Buonanotte that most will remember. Less than a year after the deadly car accident that claimed three lives and jeopardized the player’s career, Buonanotte has made a remarkable recovery from his injuries, and has featured in the last two River games. His goal was so expertly taken that one could have mistakenly believed that el Enano hadn’t been in rehab the last five months. The sight of Diego’s teammates surrounding him to celebrate his goal was one of the most emotional sights this year.
I’ve criticized Ariel Ortega many times on this site, less for his playing ability and more for his attitude off the pitch. El Burrito has missed several practice sessions due to his ongoing alcoholism, and has engaged in unnecessary battles with the club’s board of directors and managers. Yet despite all this, it’s hard to deny Ortega’s skill when he’s on, and the past few games he has played with a renewed intensity.
His reward has been a shock call-up to Diego Maradona’s squad for tonight’s Argentina vs. Haiti friendly in Buenos Aires. As this is not a FIFA-sanctioned date, only players from the Primera will make up the squad, but Ortega’s inclusion after so many years is truly a remarkable comeback for the player. The game may only be against Haiti and it’s highly unlikely that Maradona will keep Ortega in mind for the World Cup, but his appearance tonight will no doubt be a huge source of pride to the millions of River faithful who still adore him.
Highlights: River Plate 2 – 1 Vélez Sársfield