LA HAZAÑA DE ARSENAL

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Cuando se juegan 82 minutos, América de México defiende su área con mucha gente. Los delanteros de Arsenal esperan que Alejandro «Papu» Gómez pueda inventar algo pero el nerviosismo también le pesa al joven habilidoso. Hasta que Andrés San Martín decide enviarla al área y Martín Andrizzi se transforma en el héroe.

El Cilindro de Avellaneda se preparó para albergar una fiesta: el humilde Arsenal de Sarandí recibía al poderoso América de México, al cual ya había derrotado por 3-2 en condición de visitante. Pero cuando faltan diez minutos para el cierre del encuentro, la fiesta no existe. Todo lo contrario: hay caras de decepción, preocupación, lamento. El entrenador Gustavo Alfaro ya refrescó el ataque: ingresaron el delantero Leonardo Biagini y también Martín Andrizzi. Ya no están Diego Villar y Javier Yacuzzi. Para quedarse con la Copa Sudamericana 2007, hace falta un gol.

Sucedió que en la primera mitad, América se puso en ventaja con un gol en contra de Cristian Díaz, el ex lateral de Independiente. El 0-1 aún consagraba a los de Sarandí, pero en el complemento Juan Carlos Silva amplió la diferencia y la Copa se iba para México. Era una mala noticia para el conjunto argentino, pero poco tenía para reprocharse: aquel América tenía a Guillermo Ochoa en el arco, Ricardo Rojas (ex River), Federico Insúa, Rodrigo López y Salvador Cabañas. El férreo 4-4-2 planteado por Alfaro, con «Papu» Gómez por detrás del experimentado José Luis Calderón, había fallado. Se ingresaba al terreno del «cómo sea».

Y Andrizzi lo hizo. Como pudo. Recibió en el área rodeado de rivales. Tropezó, la peleó desde el piso, consiguió llevársela, levantarse, y rematar otra vez cayéndose. La pelota besó la red. Arsenal lograba el gol que necesitaba para coronarse campeón gracias a los tres que había conseguido en México. El Cilindro, ahora sí, era una fiesta. Alfaro mandó a la cancha a Santiago Raymonda para intentar tener la pelota en los minutos finales. Pero cuando el árbitro Óscar Ruiz mira al cielo y suena el silbato, la algarabía se desata: el barrio logró la hazaña, venció a otro poderoso y se consagró campeón.

EL CAMINO A LA FINAL

Arsenal terminó 5° en ambos torneos de la Temporada 2006/07: el Apertura 2006 ganado de forma heroica por Estudiantes de La Plata ante Boca Juniors, y el Clausura 2007 conquistado por el San Lorenzo de Ramón Díaz. Esas buenas ubicaciones le valieron la misma ubicación en la tabla general y por ende, la clasificación a la Copa Sudamericana, certamen que ya había disputado en 2004.

En la primera fase, Arsenal derrotó al primer grande: le ganó como visitante 3-0 a San Lorenzo tras igualar el primer partido y se metió en la siguiente ronda. Luego eliminó al Goias después de vencer 3-2 en Brasil e igualar 1-1 en Sarandí. En cuartos de rival llegó Chivas de Guadalajara: empate en Argentina y otro espectacular triunfo como visitante, 3-1 con un doblete de Javier Yacuzzi.

En semifinales llegó el turno de otro gigante: River Plate. El primer partido fue 0-0 en Sarandí, pero el Arse ya había demostrado que de visitante se hacía fuerte, tras ganar todos los partidos en esa condición. Pero en El Monumental fue difícil, trabado y cerrado: otro 0-0 llevó a los penales, donde Mario Cuenca se transformó en leyenda y le dio a los de Sarandí el pase a la Final. Aquel conjunto Millonario dirigido por Daniel Passarella tenía entre sus filas a jugadores de la talla de Juan Pablo Carrizo, Eduardo Tuzzio, Leonardo Ponzio, Fernando Belluschi, Augusto Fernández, Ariel Ortega y Radamel Falcao García, aunque este último no pudo estar en el partido de Vuelta. Además, Arsenal ya había eliminado a los de Nuñez de la Sudamericana 2004.

En la primera final, disputada en México, Arsenal volvió a confirmar sus impresionantes números como visitantes. No se achicó en el Estadio Azteca y ganó por 3-2 con un gol de Aníbal Matellán y un doblete de Alejandro Gómez con la particularidad de que ambos tantos surgieron de saques de arco.

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1994. Si no rueda una pelota me siento incompleto. Cuando sea grande diré que vi jugar a Messi. Disfruto de leer y escribir.

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