Concentrating does not only mean staying in a five-star hotel to wait for a game in a comfortable climate. It is, in football – as in life – also focus on the next challenge. RiverIn that sense, you should not lose sight, even without hotel concentration and still immersed in the 9D enthusiasm, that will receive Nacional in an uncomfortable situation due to the context: Enzo Pérez’s withdrawal due to Covid-19 modified the agenda, canceling the night at the Faena, forced a forced change (Ponzio, and Zuculini?) and generated suspense in the medium term since, due to possible evolution of the virus, there are probabilities of false negatives.
Concentrating, then, ends up being necessary even without buttons or American breakfast. If River gave proof of its resilience capacity, here it is facing another challenge: he will have to play against an opponent who will stop in Avellaneda a scheme that can be considered numerically conservative but that will compact a lot of talent. Nacional will have the presence of intelligent playmakers like Emiliano Martínez and Chory Castro, an uncomfortable striker for centrals like Bergessio and a pungent Trasante.
Reconditioning the midfield without the GPS (Enzo P.) will not be easy, even if the alternative is Ponzio at an interesting level. Although option Z should not be dismissed: Zuculini played two very interesting games against Godoy Cruz and Central and won, by level, a chance. The options offer, in that sense, certain guarantees …
To concentrate. How necessary it will be for River … Not only to learn from the mistake of 2019, when before the anniversary there was a 0-1 against San Lorenzo in which it was noticed that the head was not in Núñez but in the memory of Madrid. Perhaps playing without an audience in a neutral field and not in the Monumental will distort the context. Yes, it will be essential that the team’s reasoning does not weigh the uncertainty due to the possibility that there is another positive (or several) that weaken the team as a group for the second leg, next Thursday in Montevideo. You should not weigh that psychological backpack as an obligation to close the series before the first 50% is finished playing.
If the attack will be reinforced with a forward (Álvarez), the defense with another defender (Rojas) or the middle with a midfielder, only Gallardo knows. He also understands that he was presented, again, one of those challenges that he loves because it is a test of character. To overcome them you must be focused.