The “9” is a significant number in Boca. Without going any further, Martín Palermo has become a legend with that shirt. Darius Benedict he qualified during his first tenure at the club. He has been the best centre-forward since retirement Titan in 2011. Upon his return from Europe, where he played for Olympique de Marseille and Elche, he showed his strength in a dropper. And 2023 didn’t start with the best record: he scored two goals in 13 games.
That’s why the arrival of Michael Merentiel, that explosive scorer from Defensa y Justicia that Palmeiras bought, generated great internal competition for him. El Pipa missed the first four dates of the professional league due to a suspension he carried over from last year and although Jorge Almirón has respected ownership of him following the departure of Hugo Ibarra, Today he is not guaranteed a place on the pitch.
The Uruguayan scored 5 goals in 6 games as starter out of a total of 21 played with the blue and gold jersey. And his great performance against the Tiger on Sunday at the Bombonera sparked the debate on social media. Who should be the owner?
“There are three very healthy 9s. They are very positive in the locker room. Today was Merentiel’s turn, he contributes when he enters. We have this week to physically prepare Benedetto, he wanted to come back earlier. We need him as he is, a goalscorer”said the coach at the press conference after the duel with the Victorian club.
And the reference to the third “9” had to do with Luis Vazquez. In fact, Merentiel played on Sunday and his replacement was the young striker. The Santa Fe man born 22 years ago in Recreo is going through a negative streak: he hasn’t converted since August 21 last year in the victory against Defense and Justice in Florencio Varela. And it’s already been 23 games. Meanwhile, Nicolás Orsini is little considered by Almirón. Of the 11 matches led by the new manager, he was called up five times and none entered.
Benedetto was on the bench for the last game. He tore the hamstring in his right leg against Pereira on April 19 at La Bombonera. He missed the Superclásico and recently returned against Belgrano with an outstanding performance and a goal. Against the Argentines and the rematch with the Colombians he started, but went out in both matches. Merentiel, who succeeded him in the match played at La Paternal, scored the winning goal.
Against Arsenal, this Thursday in Sarandí, the coach will have to define whether the Uruguayan will continue as owner or will return the job to Benedetto. Almirón doesn’t want to take any chances. One possibility is that Merentiel starts and Pipa enters the second half, adds minutes and starts playing against Colo Colo. Nothing is defined.
Another who will return to the team is Sergio Romero. Pol Fernández too. Yesterday the news was the injury of Martín Payero. The midfielder suffered a torn left adductor and will be inactive for 21 days.
The positive is the imminent return of Marcos Rojo. The defender will play in reserve against Arsenal tonight at 20:00 at the property owned by Boca in Ezeiza.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.