Boca's Riquelme set for long-awaited comeback

Publish date:

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -- The expected return of creative midfielder Juan Ramon Riquelme this weekend after a long injury absence cannot come quickly enough for Boca Juniors who have missed his unique talent, coach Claudio Borghi said.

"It's the first time I'm going to coach someone I admire, one of those you can say 'This one really is good'," Borghi said anticipating Riquelme's comeback from a six-month injury lay-off.

However, Borghi is under no illusion that Riquelme will magically resolve his team's difficulties with his brilliant eye for the best pass.

"It would be unfair to ask Riquelme to solve all the problems," Borghi told reporters after a team practice.

Boca, at home to title holders Argentinos Juniors in the Bombonera stadium on Saturday (2130 GMT), have struggled for form without Riquelme, who had knee surgery in May.

Boca, on a three-match unbeaten run, are 11th in the Apertura championship standings with 17 points from 12 matches, 10 points behind leaders Estudiantes.

They are gearing up to the "superclasico", the big derby away to arch-rivals River Plate on Nov. 16 where they hope to be at full strength.

Argentina defender Clemente Rodriguez is available again after serving a three-match suspension and defender Cristian Cellay has recovered from injury.

Boca have two players suspended for one match, midfielder Jesus Mendez for a red card and defender Juan Insaurralde for his fifth booking in a 0-0 draw with Independiente 12 days ago.

There was no football last weekend following the sudden death of former head of state Nestor Kirchner, husband of President Cristina Fernandez.

Argentinos, who have produced many top Argentine players including Diego Maradona, Borghi and Riquelme, have had an even tougher Apertura since they won last season's Clausura championship in May under Borghi.

With new coach Pedro Troglio in charge of a much changed squad they went seven matches without a win. They have since won three out of their last five and are 15th with 13 points.

River Plate, their eyes also on the clash with Boca that follows, are away to All Boys on Sunday (1900).