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Nestor Gorosito pays the price for his team’s poor start to the season.

Nestor Gorosito resigned as River Plate coach after just seven rounds of the opening championship, complaining that he could not get his game plan across to the players.

His departure left the famous club two points off the bottom of the table, already out of the Sudamericana Cup and looking as though they will miss out on the next Libertadores Cup for the first time in many years.

Curiously, River showed some signs of improvement in Gorosito’s last match, leading 1-0 against San Lorenzo until eight minutes from the end, when defender Gustavo Cabral was sent off and they promptly fell to pieces and lost 2-1.

Their supposed reinforcements for this season – the injury-prone veterans Marcelo Gallardo and Ariel Ortega – were both on the treatment table, but the problems go much deeper. River’s directors, in league with agents, have continued to sell their best players – and yet the club remain in the red.

The latest sale was that of Radamel Falcao Garcia, who is already top scorer in Portugal with Porto.

Gorosito is not the only coach to have gone: Ricardo Zielinski left promoted Chacarita Juniors after they lost their first five matches and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi quit troubled Racing.

Libertadores holders Estudiantes, who are preparing for December’s Club World Cup, are top in spite of an unexpected 1-0 defeat to Argentinos Juniors who, along with San Lorenzo and Banfield, remain unbeaten. Banfield’s Santiago Silva is the league’s top scorer with six goals.

Boca Juniors, the country’s most popular club, are struggling after three successive defeats, but came back to beat Velez Sarsfield 3-2, a result which probably kept coach Alfio Basile in a job. Instrumental in the win was midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, back from injury, and the headed winner by Martin Palermo – from fully 40 yards.

Overall the championship has been extremely close so far, but another stupid decision by the Argentinian FA could have a hand in deciding matters as games were scheduled for Wednesday to Friday in the week of the final World Cup qualifiers to catch up for the late start to the season due to the players’ strike.

TV squabbles
All is still not well with the government-sponsored television channel which is showing all the league games but which cannot be seen in large parts of the country.

The government also paid the first three monthly instalments of their 10-year deal to the Argentinian FA rather than the clubs, who continue to squabble over who should get the biggest share.

The first instalment was used by the FA to pay club debts to players, the players’ union and taxes – most of which would otherwise still be owing.

Boca Juniors and River Plate, who used to receive the biggest share of the TV money (12.5 per cent each), have been against the government contract from the start and say they could break it as they have better offers from abroad. There seems to be no law against such a move, though such rumours could just be a bargaining chip, but without the two big Buenos Aires clubs, TV advertising would be much harder to sell.

And there is one final problem: during the hot summer – from November to February – the players’ union does not allow matches to start before 5pm, so they can’t all be televised live. The plan now is to play matches on Mondays…a move which is bound to lower gates further.

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