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Mauro's Journey

Started on 28 December 2015 by mageca
Latest Reply on 25 February 2016 by Griffo
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A new central midfielder that could give us some of the creativity we lacked centrally, was my top priority before the season. The wish was fulfilled with the loan agreement on Cevallos, although he has not yet fulfilled his great potential.

Number 2 on my wish list was a new right back, since we seemed a bit vulnerable here. This was obviously not improved with the termination of Bonadío's loan, but he had a salary which was at the high end, and his quality by no means justified it.

My scout Rubén Dolce had given me some good feedback on the Uruguayan right-back Mauricio Gómez and Lucas Madera both on free transfer. I prefered Gómez at that time, mainly because he is a natural right back, while Lucas Madera preferred position is in the central defence. We had agreed a contract with Gómez, but then our key player Arzura demanded an improved deal, and we did not have the finances to close the deal with Gómez. Instead Gómez ended at América (MG) playing in the Brazilian Série B, so he was not an option anymore. Now with our finances improving following the terminiation of several loan deals, I took a new look at our second choice Lucas Madera and saw that he was still on free transfer. With my two central defenders Echeverría and Blengio both aged 34, I decided that signing a defender which are able to play both in the central defence and at the right back probably would not be a bad idea. Madera only asked for 6.75K per month, so we quickly agreed on a contract.

vs. Club Atlético Tiro Federal Argentina 3-0 win

This time we showed a lot more confident performance than we did in the 5th round. A close range finish from our forward Federico González after 3 minutes helped us to victory. González added his 2nd goal of the match after 33 minutes, and with Tiro Federal getting their caption sent off in the 66th minute it was an easy matter to get through to the next round. Shortly after the red card Cevallos scored his first goal in the Tigre jersey and made 3-0 the final result.

We have a slighlty more difficult opponent in the next round, where we will face Independiente. The club is known as one of the most successful in Argentine football history, with 16 Primera División championships, 7 Copa Libertadores titles, 2 Intercontinental Cup, 2 Super Copa Sudamericana, 3 Copa Interamericana and one Recopa Sudamericana.
Our club president Rodgro Molinos invited me to contract renewal talks with the club's board. After agreeing on league expectations, transfer budget, wage budget and of course the personel details, I decided to put the pen on the paper on a 2 year contract extension. The boards expectations is that we finish in the top half, which should be possible to achieve.

There have also been some activity on the transfer market here in the break. There have been a lot of interest around Wilchez, and we received a bid of 100k from Toulouse:

although Wilchez is not quite young anymore, he is still a profile on the team. So I did not consider this offer seriously and dismissed it without delay.

We also received also an offer on another profile our striker Carlos Luna from Boavista:

He was actually our 1st striker when the season started, but has since been surpassed by Federico González. Since he is 33 and one of the players with the highest salaries, I have been thinking about replacing him if the opportunity came. Exactly that opportunity arose when Boavista came with an offer on Luna. The offer was sadly in the low end, but I still thought that I was able to find a younger replacement for the money we save in salary also. So I decided to accept the offer, even though I knew it would disappoint our fans.

I find our replacement at the Chilean club O'Higgins F.C., where my scout Dolcé earlier had given me good reports on their striker Emilio Zelaya. He also estimated that we could sign him for a small amount. So this scouting report had also made the choice about Luna's dismissal easier. I was happy to see that O'Higgins accepted my first offer on 220k (which may rise to 275k), and we negotiated easily a contract with Zelaya.

So Zelaya will now be competing with González for the position as our main striker. Right now I assess them to be about equally matched, so it will be interesting to see how they will be performing
Great story so far, will be interesting to see how the rest of your season goes.
Some minor transfer update, before we start on the 2nd half of the season. Or young striker Garate has been loaned again to another Portuguese club, this time Belenenses.

I decided not to extend our defender and captain Blengio's contract he is 35 and his abilities are not the same as they have been. So I decided that it was an obvious moment to bring in new and younger players for our aging central defense. Blengio has played at Tigre since 1997 with only two loan periods at Atromitos and Gimnasia, he reached 379 apps for Tigre and made 11 goals – so it is tough farewell. Blengio will be going to AA Gent when his contracts ends in about 6 months.

I had already found his heir in my old club Banfield. They failed to agree on a contract renewal with their central defender Sergio Vittor, and it was here I saw my opportunity. We were able to reach a deal with Sergio, though I had to make one of our best paid players. A big advantage with Sergio is that he also can play the defensive midfield position, so I was very pleased with this exchange.

Sadly I lost one of our other central defenders, Leandro González Pirez to the Portuguese club P.Ferreira. I would have liked to keep Pirez, but P.Ferreira could give him a lot higher salary than us, and at the same time he has not been happy with being a rotation player for most of the season. So we probably have to find another central defender for next season.
Thanks a lot Gemma! :)

vs. Independiente Home 1-1 draw

For the first time in the season my scout Dolce felt that focusing on defensive positioning would be a good match preparation due to Independiente strength in attack. Until now Dolce has only adviced to focus on the attacking positioning due to the lack of in our opponent's defense. So this was the first sign that this was our biggest challenge yet.

Maybe it was due to our defensive preparation, we were in any case able to keep Independiente from scoring. Unfortunately did the same applies to us, so we had to settle for 0-0, which, however, we were pleased with when we looked at the distribution of chances.

Zelaya made his highly-anticipated debut as a 62nd minute substitute, our young defensive midfielder Demián Garzo also made his Tigre debut in this match. None of them made any significant impact on the match though.

vs. Gimnasia (LP) Away 1-0 Loss

On a snowy pitch in La Plata we came under extreme pressure from the start. Gimnasia had shots at the post and the crossbar, and got a goal disallowed just after the pause. We ate us however slowly into the match and also got a couple of good opportunities. With the game nearing an end Gimnasia's Oliver Benítez scored on a well struck effort from 22 metres, so the match ended with a 1-0 loss.

vs. Huracán Away 0-1 Win

Yet another match where we were put under a heavy pressure from the start. I maybe overestimating the quality of my team due to our fantastic start to the season, and I will start matches like these more cautious in the future. It began to look better for us when I switched over to a more counter-based tactic here, and we actually ended up winning this hard fought battle. Our winger Jorge Rodríguez gave us the match winning goal with a close range finish in the 79th minute.

With Boca getting an extremely surprising home defeat to Defensa y Justicia we climbed back to 1st in the Primera División.

vs. Huracán Home 1-1 draw

Time for Copa Sudamerica! With our stadium full for the first time in the season, I really hoped that we could give our crowd an unforgettable match, although we have made very few goals in the last couple of matches.

We gave our fans the best possible start, as our forward Federico González got us of to a flyer by scoring after just 8 minutes. Huracán was able to take control over the match afterwards though, and it was deserved that they got the equaliser just after half time. In the final parts of the match our new striker Zeleya should have put us in front, when he missed two sitters! With 10 minutes left of the match, our full back Ernesto Goñi got a red card and the game calmed down from there.

We are facing an extremely difficult task, since we now have to win the away game, but we have done it before. So it is not an impossible task!

vs. River Home 2-1 Win

This match had an almost identical course as the game against Huracán. Once again Federico González got os of to a flyer, this time a minute earlier – after 7 minutes of the match. Just as in the match against Huracán, River unfortunately manager to equalize this lead in the second half. The diference of the matches course, presented itself at the end of the match. Last time Zeleya missed two sitters, but this time he managed to score – he clinched a late winner in the 81th minute with a close range header. This was a huge win, against the team that are predicted to win the Primera División!
September - part 1

Another bid came in for our talented defensive midfielder Arzura, this time from Dinamo Moscow. Once again I rejected the offer, they will have to fulfill his release clause of 6mio if they are to have him!

We could look towards a hectic and hard September month:

vs. Independiente N 1-4 Loss

Our adventure in the Copa Argentina ended brutally here. We were actually not that bad, as the result suggests. We ended having 60/40 in possession and an equal distribution of chances, but there was a world in difference in efficiency though. The greater incisiveness from our visitors resulted in this comfortable 4-1 scoreline. The was the worst possible prelude to the extremely hard away match against Boca in just 4 days! In addition to this, our most important player Arzura has suffered a thigh strain after jumping for a header during the match and will be out for 3 weeks! It looks like an impossible to task to get anything home from La Boca.

vs. Boca Away 1-1

Without our anchorman Arzura and with a destroyed morale due to the 4-1 defeat against Independiente, I had nightmares before this match. I almost expected that it will become a slaughter.

I saw a slight possibility here when I looked at Boca's transfer campaign though, because Boca has sold incredibly many players in this transfer window. They have sold players for over 23mio euro, without making any new purchases. So they are without 4 of their normal starters: Gino Peruzzi has gone to Leicester (15 apps 8.31 avr), Andrés Chaves has gone to Lyon (15 apps 13 goals 7.54 avr), Marcelo Melo has gone to Sporting CP (15 apps 7.47 avr) and Jonathan Calleri has gone to Benfica (12 apps 1 goal 6.88 – so they will probably not miss him that much). So they are certainly not quite as terrifying as they had been earlier in the season. With that said though, they still posses a team with players that are better than us on almost every postion on the field.

I was very impressed with how we opened the match, it was a pretty equal start, with a few chances at both ends. Out of nothing though Cristian Pavón gave Boca the lead in the 29th minute, and from here the match became pretty boring without any major chances to any of the teams. It seemed like Boca would take this narrow win, but with 20 minutes left of the match we went all in. We threw every man forward in a rush to Boca's goal, and that opened the match completely. There came some great opportunities to both teams, and with a little more than 10 minutes left of the match Monzón gave away a penalty. Rodríguez equalized from the spot, and we took one point home from La Boca!

vs. San Lorenzo Home 1-0 Win

Our squad was hit hard by injuries going into this match. So Fabricio Vuagniaux and Sebastián Balmaceda was given their professional debut, and I had to change the tactic since we simply were missing fresh players on the central midfield. Luckily we managed to win this very hard fought battle, our winning goal came through Federico González, who had just been subbed on, as he seized on Mario Yepes mistake. This match could have gone both ways, in a match with very few chances. So I was very pleased with it went our way.
September - part 2

vs. Huracán Away 1-1p loss

What a match! Once again a very close match completely without any chances in the 1st half. From the start of the second half we pushed a little bit higher up on the field and it gave some opportunities in both ends. Sadly it was Huracán who took the lead after 59 minutes and they were able to keep us completely from their goal in the minutes afterwards, so I had to make some drastic changes in the last minutes.

In the last 10 minutes we got two major chances to equalize, but both opportunities were missed. We were given two minutes stoppage time, but with the clock standing at 91:42 I was almost ready to go to the locker room, when I suddenly felt the silence in the stadium without an accompanying final whistle. Huracán's keeper Díaz was only able to parry after a cross from González and the ball fell to Cevallos...GOAAAAAAAAL!!

I could not believe it, out of nowhere, we were suddenly given the opportunity to proceed! The match went directly into penalty shootout. Both us and Huracán scored on the first two penalties, then González missed. Huracán scored on the following, so Galmarini had to score to keep us in the game and he did 4-3 to Hurácan. So Distéfano could decide the match for Hurácan if he scored, but our keeper García made the save. Once again we were saved in the last moment, I felt that now we would take the win, and Paglialunga made me believe in this when he equalized to 5-5! Hurácan made it 6-5, and then our young promising midfielder Balmaceda stepped up to take our 6th penalty. There was an enormous pressure on the shoulders of this young player, he needed to score in order to keep our hopes alive. Balmaceda ran up to take his shot and struck the ball directly at the keeper – Huracán won the shootout. What a bitter pill to swallow, I really hope that the team can come back from this and continue the fairytale in the Primera División.

vs. Racing Club Away 2-0 loss

We got the worst possible start to this match, as Racing Club opened the scoring after 25 minutes. Racing Club was in red-hot form, and this goal clearly gave them even more confidence. We never really got into this match, and Racing Club could take the three points on cruise control. They closed the match after about an hour when they made it 2-0, cause we were not able to get our play to work. A very disappointing display from the team.

vs. Estudiantes (LP) Home 3-1 win

This was the optimal chance to get the confidence back into the players. Before the season Estudiantes was predicted to finish amongst the top teams in the league, but the sales of their two profiles Ezequil Cerutti to Real Sociedad and Gastón Gil Romero to América (MEX) hit them hard and they run into an absolutely awful period. From 22/2 to 17/8 they were without a win and completely isolated at the bottom of the league. They have grabbed 3 wins since, but all at home and they are 29th in the league. So against a team with an away record saying 1-2-8 and a goal difference on -16, this was really our chance to get back on track!

The match started very equal though, with chances at both ends. Fortunately it was us who took the lead after about 30 minutes, when our new striker Zelaya took advantage of an error from Álvaro Pereira, and scored his 2nd goal for the club. By another mistake in the Estudiantes defence we were able to extend the lead, but only a few minutes afterwards Estudiantes manged to get back into the match when they out of nothing scored to 2-1. We looked very nervous after this goal, and Estudiantes were able to put us under a massive pressure. In the end we closed the match on a counter attack in the dying minutes and we finish another month as number 1 in the league, but it is now very close in the top of the league.

vs. Lanús Away 1-0 Loss

Another difficult away match against Lanús placed 6th in the league.

We played a fine match here, and deserved the 3 points as much as Lanús did. But we knew from the moment we got behind it would be almost impossible to get any points with us home. Because Lanús has by far the best defense in the league - in 24 matches they have only let 11 goals in, and at home only 3! Nevertheless we were acutally able to get some really big opportunities, especially our striker González who was denied by the post, but we did not manage to exploit any of these and we got another away defeat. We have now lost three of our last five away matches, and I have begun to consider changes regarding our approach to the away matches.

vs. Vélez Sarsfield Home 1-0 Win

There is a tough fight going on about our striker position. It was supposed that our new striker Zelaya and González should be the participants in this battle, but Rincón have after some fine performances joined the fight, and this resulted in Zelaya wanted to discuss the lack of first team football. I promised him some starts in the upcoming matches, and I kept my promise. I did not regret that, as we took the lead when Zelaya scored on a close range effort after 71 minutes. Just the minute after we were unable to concentrate, and that resulted in a clumsy penalty to Vélez, but Javier García was able to deny the penalty and we took the 1-0 win. So while we struggle away from home, we continue our fine home form with our fourth victory in the last five matches at home.

vs. Newell's Away 1-1 Draw

This was an very important away match, against 4th placed Newell's. Newell's took control of the match early on, and eventhough we managed to keep them away from big chances, they continued to have total domination. So it was deserved that they could bring themselves in front after 63 minutes, and they should have closed match, but since they were not capable of this we could stick to the slender hope of a random chance could arise, and it did! With under 10 minutes left of the match we got a penalty after some skirmishes in the penalty area after a corner. Rodríguez missed the penalty, but equalized on the follow up and we were very lucky to get one point home from here.

vs. Colón Home 3-0 Win

I've really missed a match like this, where we comfortable take the 3 points. I think that we have fought very hard for the victories for a long period and not been able to close the matches. This time it was different, we got in front early and after 30 minutes we were in front with 2:0. Colón were not threatening us in any way, and Cevallos closed the match in the 68th minute shortly after he was substituted in.

vs. Godoy Cruz Away 0-0 Draw

We should also have won this comfortably, instead it all ended with a 0-0 draw. We dominated the match totally, but were unable to to benefit from the possession, and had to settle with a 0-0 draw. This could very well be the decisive moment in the fight for a sensational Primera División title.

Other news, our chief scout Rúben Dolce which I had been looking so hard to find has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. So once again I have to seek for a new chief scout.

Final part of the season

We are going into the final part of the season. We have two matches left, the first one is at home against Belgrano and the last one is at home against Argentinos Jrs. two matches we should win, and if we do that, then only Independiente can only destroy our title dreams if they win their last three matches. It is has been a fantastic season no matter what happens from here, it was expected that we would get a forgettable position in the middle of the table and now we are fighting for the title!

Let us look at the teams that can reach the top spot, and their last couple of matches.

#2 Boca

Boca has the toughest schedule with two very difficult away matches, so if they want to stay in the game for the championship, they need to perform at their highest level.

#3 Independiente

Probably our worst competitor at this time. They can actually decide it for themselves, if they manage to win their last 3 matches, but they face some daunting opponents. It is very likely that they can drop off points in one these, though all 3 are at home.

Lanús and Newell's can still reach it, but is respectively 4 and 5 points behind, so it is mostly hypothetical that they can win the league.

Before we get into the final part of the season. It is worth mentioning that Boca won the Copa Argentina on penalties against Olimpo.
Final part of the season

Newell's is now completely out of the title race after they lost 3:1 against Unión (SF), the day before our match against Belgrano.

vs. Belgrano Home 3-0 Win

It was exactly such a performance I had hoped for. Without any troubles we took a very comfortable 3-0 win. Zelaya brought us in front after just 9 minutes, and from here it was apparent that we were the only team that had something to play for. Meanwhile Boca got an equally big victory away against Huracán, so it remains close at the top.

At a sold-out stadium the two bitter rivals Independiente and San Lorenzo fought a hard battle. Before the season begun San Lorenzo was expected to fight in the top of the league, but is now fighting at the bottom to prevent relegation. So after two painful defeats against two other relegation candidates, I did not have high expectations that they would take points against Independiente. They did surprise everyone though, and they ended Independiente incredible streak (Independiente has not lost since 13/3!) with an 1-0 victory. We can now suddenly decide the championship by winning at home against Argentinos Jrs. who have absolutely nothing to play for!
mageca's avatar Group mageca
5 yearsEdited
Final round of the season

So it was time for the season's final round. Competing with Boca for the title, who would have guessed that before the season?

We started the match a bit nervously, but the nerves quickly disappeared. Argentinos Jrs. was clearly not very interested in destroying our dreams of the Primera División title. Almost without any resistance we bombarded Argentinos Jrs. goal and after 23 minutes Rincón brought jubilation on our stadium when he made it 1-0!

he domination continued almost to the half time, but in the last couple of minutes of the first half we were very shaky and Argentinos had two great opportunities to equalize. At the same time we heard that River had come in front – we were so close to the triumph now!

We opened the second half with style, in the first attack Zelaya doubled our lead with a fantastic header! Al the nervousness was now disappeared, and the rest of the second half was on cruise control. Arzura closed the match with a little less than half an hour left of the match - we were champions!

I had absolutely not expected that we were able to fight for the title the first time I saw the squad. The amazing start we got to the season was a solid foundation, and although we were not able to continue in the quite same gear, we continued to deliver solid results and we never had a real crisis through the whole season. At the same time all of the other top teams made some major changes in their squads, and therefore none of them came into a rhythm. In the end we manged to outsmart them all and clinch the Argentina Primera División title!

It is difficult to see how to surpass this result, but now the squad has deserved a long
vacation, were I can think about the future. There is certainly an exciting future ahead for Tigre, with among other things the prospect of Copa Libertadores and whether their coach should keep his newly grown mustache

You are reading "Mauro's Journey".

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