The 186th SuperClasico wasn’t a classic, yet rarely does a meeting between River Plate and Boca Juniors ever seems to pass without controversy and intrigue, and Sunday night’s match was no different.
One of the chief protagonists at the Monumental Stadium was Argentine striker Ariel Ortega. Now in his twilight years at 35-years-old, “El Burrito” (“The Little Donkey”) is fast approaching retirement as his twinkle toes begin to lose their sharpness as well as the forward’s difficulties with alcoholism in the past few years.
But Ortega isn’t finished yet, and against Boca the striker was a central figure, although not for the right reasons. In the first half Ortega has the displeasure of seeing his spot-kick saved by Abbondanzieri, but the forward’s blushes were soon forgotten after Marcelo Gallardo scored with a fine free-kick.
Early in the second half though, Ortega was back in the thick of the action as the striker blatantly feigned an injury in order to get Boca’s Paraguayan defender Julio Caceres sent off. As the pair clashed on the touchline as they battled for the ball, Ortega initially appeared to behave in a heavy-handed manner by raising an unnecessary arm towards the back of Caceres’ head. In turn Caceres swung a flailing arm backwards which appeared to brush Ortega around his chest, only for the forward to go down gripping his face as if a bucket of acid had just been thrown on his kisser.
With the officials all too easily conned, poor Caceres was sent off.
Evidence of Ariel Ortega’s dirty cheating tactics can be seen here.