Underdogs sometimes resort to somewhat underhanded tactics in order to win. Parking the bus, faking injuries to waste time, hard fouling—these are all acceptable albeit unsporting strategies overmatched soccer teams commonly use when coming up against the big boys. But this Argentine lower division defender, who proudly bragged on local radio about jabbing a needle into opposing players during Sunday’s cup match against one of Argentina’s biggest teams, went way too far, even if it worked and his team pulled off the upset.
The interview above in Spanish starts with Pacífico (an Argentine club in the fourth division) defender Federico Allende, the poker. (The actual poking is not shown in the video.) This is some of what he had to say, from ESPN FC:
“I had to resort to the old book,” he told Argentinian radio station Radio Vorterix . “The Great Bilardo. Needles!”
Bilardo was accused of having used needles to poke an opponent when he was a player in the 1960s when on the books of Estudiantes.
When asked if he had truly poked opponents, Allende said: “I promise, I killed [Juan Ferney] Otero.
“He will hate me but football is like that. You have to lose respect for opponents.
“We knew we had to make the game dirty because Estudiantes players wouldn’t like that.”
Later in the clip above, Allende’s victim, Estudiantes player Juan Ferney Otero, explains that indeed, Allende was telling the truth:
[Otero] said as reported in Clarin: “Allende poked me four times, that is why I would distance myself from him. It was like a sewing needle that he had.
“I told [Estudiantes striker] Javi Toledo to be careful. Thankfully, he didn’t do much damage. I told the referee several times but he didn’t listen.”
Pacífico’s leadership has not looked kindly upon Allende’s actions, and it sounds like he’ll soon be out of a job:
“We are dismayed,” Pacifico president Hector Moncada said as reported in Clarin. “This incident has tarnished the team’s good work.
“I will expel him from the club. It was a joke done in very poor taste.
“The coach, Andres Villafane, agrees with the decision to expel him although the final outcome will be taken jointly with the rest of the club executives.”
More diving, less poking.