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|I||H. Kiryat Shmona||21:05||Sparta Praha|
A hat-trick in BSC Young Boys' 3-1 win against Udinese Calcio thrust Raúl Bobadilla into the UEFA Europa League limelight, and the No9 will look to keep that momentum going – and his temper in check.
The Argentinian forward showed his class a fortnight ago to bring Young Boys their first Group A points, with his second of the night a peach – collecting a high ball some distance from goal, he charged past two Udinese defenders to dispatch a precise shot into the corner. "I'm dead tired but happy," he said later, with YB coach Martin Rueda adding: "He put in a tremendous performance. He fought like a bull."
That bull reference caught the imagination of the Swiss press, with many regarding it as the epitome of his playing style: powerful and determined, but also prone to fits of rage. "If Raúl could control his emotions better, he would be an even better footballer than he already is," concluded Rueda of the Buenos Aires-born player, who returned to Switzerland midway through last season after an inconclusive two-year spell with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Bobadilla had earned that 2009 move to Germany during an exceptional period at Grasshopper Club, where he scored 26 goals in 47 top-flight games. However, the passion that fired his excellent form has also been Bobadilla's downfall at times, as he acknowledged. "I always try to give my best," he said of his full-blooded approach. "Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it doesn't."
Former Swiss international defender Rueda, 49, has done his best to keep Bobadilla focused since he arrived at Young Boys earlier this year. He is continuously working on his charge, who first landed in Switzerland in his teens after a stint as a trainee with CA River Plate. The striker initially played for FC Concordia Basel before being scooped up by Grasshoppers in 2007.
Now under contract in Berne until 2014, Bobadilla would dearly love a trophy to show for his efforts – yet with Young Boys ranked a disappointing fifth in the table, that seems unlikely to happen in the Super League this season. However, the UEFA Europa League provides some motivation, with a round of 32 place the primary objective. After defeats in their first two Group A matches, progress for YB seemed a long shot, yet then Bobadilla bared his horns at home to Udinese. "We don't have to fear anyone if we play like we did against Udinese," said Bobadilla, bullish as ever.
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