Argentine Futbolero Could Be Kicked Off Team After Poking Opponents With a Sewing Needle

Lead Photo: Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla.
Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla.
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Soccer players are known to stretch the rules to get an advantage, but some take it a bit too far in search of the ever-elusive victory. Some, like Federico Allende, take it even further than that, into the land of farce. This week the Sport Club Pacifico defender admitted that he poked opponent strikers with a sewing needle during a Copa Argentina match-up. Yes, a needle.

Allende’s fourth division squad pulled off a massive upset in that game, beating the top-division side 3-2 to advance into the round of 16. When they returned to their hometown of General Alvear in the Mendoza province, the Pacifico team were met as heroes.

Still riding a high from the game, Allende couldn’t contain himself when asked how he stopped Estudiantes strikers during the battle in Banfield. “I had to resort to the old book,” the defender told Argentinian radio station Radio Vorterix. “The Great Bilardo. Needles!” Allende was referring to Carlos Salvador Bilardo, the manager that led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title with Diego Maradona; Bilardo had been accused of using needles to poke opponents when he was a player in the 1960s with Estudiantes.

When asked if he was serious about having poked his opposition, Allende didn’t back down from his claim. “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.”

Estudiantes striker Otero said that he was poked several times and began alerting his teammates of the needle as well as referee Luis Alvarez. “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 (my teammate) Javi Toledo to be careful. Thankfully, he didn’t do much damage. I told the referee several times but he didn’t listen.”

Allende, 26, now faces disciplinary action from his club and could be looking for a new place to play soon. Pacifico president Hector Moncada was not amused by the defender’s actions, telling Clarin that he’s considering expelling the player from the club. “We are dismayed. 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.”

Despite probably not being on the team anymore, Allende’s dirty tactics did help Pacifico advance, and they will face Atletico Atlanta in the next round of the Copa Argentina on August 2nd.