from the San Telmo police station to Abu Dhabi

Devoted to glory. Or from a Prosecutor’s Office in San Telmo to a mega-stadium in Abu Dhabi. To the hyperbolic journey of Patronage was completed with the adjusted 1-0 about workshops in the Malvinas Argentinas de Mendoza. the end of the Argentine Cup gave him his first national title, the classification to the Libertadores Cup and a passage to dispute another crown before Boca in the capital of United Arab Emirates. And it is also the opportunity to close with a big smile a year that included victories against four of the big five, but also a relegation and a black night, in which four players ended up in detention.

Those who observe the empty portion of the glass will emphasize that the Entre Ríos team will return next year to the First National after seven seasons in the highest category of Argentine football. Those who prefer to look at the other fraction of the container will highlight the very good campaign that a cast with very modest resources carried out in recent months, which allowed him to win the Argentine Cup and finish 10th in the Professional Leaguealthough not prevent the descent.

The architect of this team was Facundo Savawho arrived in Paraná on March 7 to replace Ivan Delfino. By then, the Santo they had picked up just one point from their first five games of the year, were bottom of their League Cup group and penultimate in the table of averages. “I already have the experience of starting from the bottom and I like it. It is different to fight upstairs than downstairs, but this situation motivates me”assured that day the ex-technician from San Martín de San Juan, Unión, Racing and Tigre, who in the previous season had taken Quilmes to play the final of the Reduced of the First National for the second promotion against Barracas Central (he lost it on penalties ).

Sava took command of a short squad, without great figures and that at the beginning of the year had lost some of its most outstanding players such as Paraguayan defender Rolando García Guerreño, Uruguayan striker Sebastián Sosa Sánchez and goalkeeper and captain Matías Ibáñez. In June the departure of Gabriel Gudiño would be added to Huracán. In return, men arrived who, without a very shiny plate, contributed a lot to the team as Carlos Quintana, Nicolás Castro, Axel Rodríguez, Jonás Acevedo and Marcelo Estigarribia.

Facundo Sava has directed the Board of Trustees since March of this year. Photo: German Garcia Adrasti

In the first segment of Sava’s management, the results were far from optimal, beyond the fact that the team began to show an improvement in the game. Three victories and six defeats did not serve to leave the last place in zone A of the League Cup, led by Racing. That is why on June 4, against Vélez in the Elder Bartolomé Grella, started the Professional League at the bottom of the table of averages and 11 points from salvationwhich in those days seemed like a chimera.

At the start of the second contest of the year, the numbers were more friendly. A couple of wins vs. Aldosivi y Central Cordobadirect rivals in the battle for permanence, and other triumphs against Independent y Tigre They invited hope. then it came the fateful night of June 26in which the referee Jorge Baliño and those in charge of the VAR, Diego Abal and Diego Ceballos, unfortunately assumed a leading role in the match against Barracas Central at the All Boys stadium.

After a couple of much discussed interventions of the video assistance system, when the Pattern played with ten men due to the expulsion of Nicolás Castro and after Facundo Altamirano saved a penalty from Pablo Mouche, a header from Colombian Sebastián Rincón in added time sealed the 2-1 in favor of the Handsome. It was the spark that set fire to the prairie. As soon as Baliño marked the end, a phenomenal brawl broke out between players from the Entre Ríos team and City Police officers, who clashed hand-to-hand on the pitch. “It makes me want to cry, to go home and never manage again in my life,” Sava shot while his players were still battling with the uniformed men.

As a result of the skirmish, the team was delayed three hours in the visiting dressing room of the Islas Malvinas (which was in darkness due to lack of electricity) and, after that, five of its members were arrested: Axel Rodríguez, Justo Giani, Matías Pardo, Juan Barinaga and the goalkeeping coach Damián González. The order had been given by Celsa Ramírez, head of the Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Massive Events and Sports Spectacles of the City of Buenos Aires, for injuries, attack and resistance to authority.

The four players and González they spent the night in police vehicles, while the rest of the squad returned to Paraná, and during the morning of the next day they gave a statement at Prosecutor’s Office 35, in San Telmo, before returning to the capital of Entre Ríos. There, they and their companions received the support not only of the fans (there was a flag in front of the hotel where they were gathered), but also of Governor Gustavo Bordet, who visited them at the La Capillita property. “It hurts a lot when there is a dispossession like the one that happened on the last date. In football you can win or lose, but sometimes there are things that go beyond footballlamented the provincial president.

Just five days after the battle of Floresta, the Pattern thrashed Boca 3-0 in the Grella. One of the goals was scored by Axel Rodríguez, one of those charged by the hubbub. “We had a bad time, but with this victory everything is behind us. We are very close”highlighted the former Olimpo striker. “I feel a lot of pride for these players”Sava emphasized. “There was a lot of individual and group talk. In the first days we had to be attentive to the feelings that we had to live. It was necessary to give way to anguish, to sadness. It was a very difficult moment. And it was a special week for me, sportingly and personally.”added the DT, who is also a social psychologist.

Axel Rodríguez, one of the players arrested for the incidents in the match with Barracas Central, scored a goal against Boca five days later.  Photo: Juan Jose Garcia.
Axel Rodríguez, one of the players arrested for the incidents in the match with Barracas Central, scored a goal against Boca five days later. Photo: Juan Jose Garcia.

That victory against Boca was the second in the League against a great, after the one achieved against Independiente. Two weeks later, it would be the Saint Lawrence by Ruben Darío Insua who would capitulate in Paraná: goals by Lucas Kruspzky, Marcelo Estigarribia and Justo Giani gave the local victory 3-2. And in the Grella would also fall, at the beginning of October, the then leader of the contest, Atletico Tucuman.

In any case, neither those four victories nor the other seven that the Entre Ríos team obtained in the Professional League (in addition, they registered seven draws and nine defeats) were enough to avoid relegation, which was sentenced on Friday, October 14, with two to go. dates for the end of the tournament, due to Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Central Córdoba. Too heavy was the slab of the bad campaigns in 2020 and 2021, in which he had added 23 and 37 points, respectively, against this year’s 50.

Simultaneous with that combat against the calculator, the Santo He made a journey in the Copa Argentina that began in silence and ended with a roar. He debuted with a 2-0 victory against Deportivo Morón in Santa Fe for the 32nd finals, later he beat Colón on penalties at the Coloso Marcelo Bielsa in Rosario and then, in Resistencia, he left Gimnasia in the gutter, which he beat 2 to 1. Thus it was installed in the quarterfinals.

then they came the two bumps against the giants of Argentine soccer. First it was River’s turn at the Carlos Augusto Mercado Luna stadium in La Rioja. Then, to Boca in the San Juan del Bicentenario. The two triumphs were consummated in definitions by penalties and in both he was a hero Facundo Altamirano. Against Marcelo Gallardo’s team, the former goalkeeper of Banfield stopped the last shot at Matías Suárez; against those led by Hugo Ibarra, he deflected the shots of Óscar Romero, Alan Varela and Sebastián Villa. In the round of 16, against Colón, he had saved one from Luis Miguel Rodríguez in the 90 minutes and another from Rodrigo Aliendro in the definition from 11 meters.

Facundo Altamirano was a figure in the penalty shootouts against River and Boca.  Photo: Juan Jose Garcia
Facundo Altamirano was a figure in the penalty shootouts against River and Boca. Photo: Juan Jose Garcia

The red and black He overcame his last hurdle on Sunday in Mendoza. Before Workshops he went bankrupt the streak of the teams that eliminated Boca and River in the same tournament and could not be consecrated. He passed Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata in the 2018 Argentine Cup, in which he fell in the final against Rosario Central. More than a century ago, Estudiantes de Caseros did it in the 1913 Honor Cup: they beat the Millionaire in the round of 16 and 5 to 4 at Xeneize in the semi-finals, but lost 5-1 to Racing in the final. Outside borders and for the Copa Libertadores, Independiente del Valle (2016) and Atlético Mineiro (2021) suffered the same fate.

In addition, the Pattern became the second club indirectly affiliated to the AFA to win a tournament recognized by the mother house of vernacular football (San Martín de Tucumán won the Copa de la República in 1945), but also won a place in the Libertadores Cup 2023. In that case, he will have to play it while in the First National, as Tigre already did in 2019.

But not only that: the victory at Malvinas Argentinas qualified the club founded 108 years ago by Bartolomé Grella for the Argentine Super Cup, in which the winner of the Argentine Cup will face Boca (as champion of the Professional League) in Abu Dhabi in January of next year. Yes, the descended Board of Trustees took passage to the Middle East.

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