River's Angel Cappa Under Pressure

Life as a coach in Argentina is so difficult, that seats on the bench are often described as "electric chairs" for managers of the top clubs. The pressure is not only to win but to play in style as well, such that only a few bad results will make a coach feel the pressure around his neck. River Plate boss Angel Cappa is known for his "Tiki-tiki" style as Huracan boss, but his transition to River, historically the most successful club in Argentina, has yet to yield the desired for fans and directors.

After winning the first three matches of the tournament, River's faithful began to dream of a championship run, but after a scoreless draw against last-place Gimnasia de La Plata, the Nuñez outfit were left nine points behind leaders Estudiantes. During a stretch of four straight matches without a victory, including three straight draws, Cappa has been questioned by fans and media alike for his lineup decisions and his strange substitutions throughout the match.

River was clearly the superior side and had it not been for the interventions from Gimnasia goalkeeper Gaston Sessa and the woodwork, River could have been up four or five goals by the end of first-half. Erik Lamela, the 18 year-old starlet from River's academy was the most outstanding player on the pitch and continues to make impact with the first team. Despite being the best player on the pitch, Lamela was bizarrely substituted at halftime for Diego Buonanotte, who is a great player, but has not yet fully recovered from a life-threatening car accident he suffered last Christmas. Without Lamela on the field, River lost their dominance, and Gimnasia began to create chances.

Also frustrating for the River fans was that, the club legend Ariel Ortega was left on the pitch for the full 90 minutes despite playing arguably his worst game in a River jersey. At 36, El Burrito is a shadow of the player he was only a few years ago when he captained River to the title in 2008. His stature at the club is so huge that, Cappa is almost afraid to replace the beloved No. 10 even when he is obviously exhausted. Instead of substituting Ortega, Cappa made one last roll of the dice by replacing left back Carlos Arano in favor of another striker, leaving River vulnerable at the back. Gimnasia almost took advantage of the substitution and could have won the match in the end, if not for the heroic save from River's goalkeeper, Juan Carrizo.

Now, River and Cappa must regroup before a tricky trip to Godoy Cruz, one of the better sides in Apertura. Reports have come out that River President Daniel Passarella, left the stadium in anger after seeing the substitution of Lamela, and it appears the former Tenerife boss may be on his way out. Ideologically, Cappa is a great manager but given his substitution habits over the past few games, it has become evident why he has never won a title in Argentina. Cappa is being paid to make decisions but if he continues to make the wrong ones, then he won't be in charge of Los Millonarios for long.

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