EL MALDITO CALENDARIO

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El fútbol moderno está repleto de competencias. Ya es habitual que un plantel profesional dispute partidos cada tres días, dejando a los futbolistas sin descanso físico y mental.  Pero hay casos extremos, como el que debieron enfrentar Racing y Vélez, quienes chocaron dos veces en la misma tarde.

“Sobredosis de fútbol” es la característica que define la actualidad del deporte rey. A toda hora y sin importar el día, la oferta futbolera se multiplica en los televisores y las radios hogareñas. Sin embargo, una situación que se dio en Sudamérica rozó el ridículo. En 1997 Racing y Vélez debieron afrontar dos cotejos el mismo día. Uno correspondiente a la Liga criolla, y otro por la Copa Libertadores. Parece increíble, pero es un hecho verídico, propio de la desorganización que reina en estas latitudes.
Aquel domingo 2 de marzo de 1997 quedó grabado en la historia de Racing y Vélez. Es que la Academia y el Fortín se cruzaron por el campeonato local, la misma tarde donde se midieron en Ecuador ante El Nacional y Emelec, respectivamente. Pero ¿cómo se dio esta irrisoria situación? El calendario no permitía más casilleros vacíos, por lo que desde la Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CSF) se tomó la decisión de que ambos equipos argentinos afrontaran sus duelos coperos en tierras ecuatorianas, un día domingo y casi en sintonía con la fecha del Clausura de aquel año.
Capria
Los inicios de ambos en la competición más importante del continente no eran auspiciosos. Sin importar esto, las instituciones tomaron decisiones contrarias. Racing envió a sus suplentes a Ecuador, para medirse ante El Nacional, y alineó a los titulares para el duelo frente a Vélez. Los de Liniers por su parte guardaron lo mejor para la Copa (frente a Emelec), mientras que los juveniles visitaron a los de Avellaneda en el Cilindro, partido que configuró la segunda jornada.
A las 14 horas de nuestro país, y con la altura como enemigo de la juvenil alineación, la Academia de Alfio Basile cayó por 2 a 0 y sin atenuantes. Los tantos de Simón Ruíz y Cléber Chalá decretaron el éxito de El Nacional. En el Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, en Quito, el Coco paró el siguiente once: Walter Cáceres; Héctor González, Brusco, Serrizuela, Zanetti; Netto, Michelini, De Vicente, Nicolás Diez; Centeno y Saavedra. Con la particularidad que el banco de suplentes contó con apenas tres relevos.
Por esas cosas de la incomprensible decisión, y tan sólo 60 minutos después, Racing contó con la chance de tomarse revancha. Así, y bajo la conducción del Panadero Díaz, los titulares vencieron 2-0 al Vélez muleto, con los tantos de Claudio Marini y Marcelo Delgado, en la continuidad de aquel Clausura 97, finalmente conquistado por River.
BassedasLos hinchas de Vélez se marcharon con velocidad del Cilindro, luego del traspié del conjunto que tuvo al interino Alberto Jorge al mando, para poder seguir las acciones del Fortín “titular”, que midió fuerzas con Emelec una hora después. Esta vez, para su fortuna, pudieron sonreír ya que la alineación de Osvaldo Piazza venció 3-2 por las conquistas de Patricio Camps (2) y Martín Posse. Los locales descontaron por Ariel Graziani y Carlos Juárez. El DT paró el siguiente equipo: Chilavert; Zandoná, Méndez, Pellegrino, Cardozo; Moriggi, Claudio Husaín, Marcelo Gómez, Bassedas; Posse y Camps. Así, la “V azulada” se quedó con una victoria importante.
Aquel 2 de marzo pasó y la competencia siguió su rumbo. Tanto Racing como Vélez dejaron atrás el Grupo 2 y se metieron entre los mejores de la Copa. Tal fue la historia común que unió a ambos, que el mismo rival los eliminó: Sporting Cristal de Perú. Los de Liniers cayeron en los octavos mientras que los de Avellaneda sucumbieron en la semifinal.
Sin dudas, y aunque hayan pasado 19 años de este peculiar acontecimiento, los hinchas de uno y otro no olvidarán la tarde donde ganaron y perdieron, donde las obligaciones establecidas pudieron más que la lógica.
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Periodista deportivo egresado del Círculo. Amante de todo tipo de deporte, sin distinción alguna. Sueño con clonar a Lampard para que nunca deje de patear una pelota. Escribo sin ansias de ser leído.

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