Historic Superclasico clash set to rock Buenos Aires
First Libertadores final to feature the Argentinian Superclásico
A historic rivalry that has produced some memorable clashes in this competition
First leg on Sunday 11th, return fixture on 24th
As you would expect, these are very nervy days in Argentina: fans trying to recall what the lucky charm or routine was that brought them joy last time; WhatsApp groups pinging non-stop with tactical suggestions, shared dreams and worst fears; supporters checking with their cardiologists that they will be able to cope; even those unsure if they should postpone weddings planned months ago that are scheduled to coincide with the game…
The mother of all finals, this is the showdown longed for by the neutrals but secretly feared by many fans of the respective clubs. Boca Juniors and River Plate are finally about to cross swords in the final of the Copa Libertadores de America. Awaiting the winners is something always highly prized in South America, the chance to test themselves against the best sides from around the globe at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018.
Since its first official staging in 1913, the Argentinian Superclásico has only twice decided a final: in 1976, when Boca prevailed 1-0 against their arch-rivals to claim the National Championship, and then in 2018 as River triumphed 2-0 to lift the Supercopa Argentina. In the Copa Libertadores, they’ve gone toe to toe in the group stages, last 16, quarter-finals and semis... but until now never in the final.
Boca Juniors v River Plate
Sunday 11 November, Estadio La Bombonera, 16:00 (local time)
River Plate v Boca Juniors
Saturday 24 November, Estadio Monumental, 17:00 (local time)
In the Copa Libertadores final, the away-goal rule does not apply in the case of a tie.
There are ten players facing suspension from the second leg if cautioned this Saturday: Pablo Perez, Nahitan Nandez, Cristian Pavon and Lucas Olaza for Boca; Jonatan Maidana, Javier Pinola, Enzo Perez, Gonzalo Martinez, Rafael Santos Borre and Lucas Pratto for River.
Since 2016, River and Boca have faced off seven times with Marcelo Gallardo and Guillermo Barros Schelotto as the rival coaches. Los Millonarios have won three of those and Los Xeneizes two, with the winning side having always scored the first goal.
River have not come from behind to beat Boca since 1988, when they came from 2-0 down to beat their rivals 3-2 at the Monumental.
Boca last managed that same feat in 2016, when they turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 victory on their opponents’ patch.
Did you know...?
Between them the two clubs have won the Libertadores nine times in its 58 editions. Boca boast 6 triumphs and River 3.
Boca are about to become the club with the most appearances in the final with 11. River are fifth on that list with what will be their sixth decider.
In the current edition, Boca have won five of their six home games, all without conceding. Their solitary reverse was to Palmeiras in the group phase.
By comparison, River’s home record is three wins, two draws and one defeat – in the semi-final against Gremio.