River Plate beat Boca Juniors 2-0, breaks five-year La Bombonera spell

The Millonario won 2-0 in the 260th Superclásico and gave coach Martín Demichelis some fresh air

River Plate beat Boca Juniors 2-0 in the 260th Superclásico, the most important fixture in Argentine football. The Xeneize hosted the Millionario at the La Bombonera stadium, where until now, it had remained unbeaten against its historic rival for the past five years.

River took control of the game right from kick-off. After struggling to make its dominance count, the Millonario finally scored in the 39th minute, when a long-range effort from experienced midfielder Enzo Pérez was deflected by his teammate Venezuelan striker Salomón Rondón for the opener.

In the second half, Boca came out swinging. The substitution of youngster Valentín Barco and the obligation to win in front of its own fans energized Almirón’s team. Its best chance came in the 73rd minute when Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani scored what would’ve been the tie from a rebound from his own shot, but it was disallowed for offside.

However, as the minutes passed the cost of Boca’s desperation started to be felt and it allowed plenty of room for River to create chances. Millonario striker Facundo Colidio, who was whistled by the home crowd as he was subbed in because he previously played for Boca, missed a glaring chance to double the lead in the 47th minute.

Just three minutes later, it would be Enzo Diaz who took the chance in front of a nearly open goal to put the final score of 2-0.

“The game played out how we wanted,” said River midfielder Nicolás de la Cruz in an aftermatch interview. “We came to exploit their weaknesses, of which they have many. We played an excellent game. We’re always comfortable in this stadium.”

With Sunday’s victory, River put an end to a five-year spell without a win in its historic rival’s home stadium — the team’s last victory in La Bombonera was in September 2018. It also cuts a seven-game streak without a win away, something that was putting pressure on Demichelis. The Superclásico was his chance to earn back love from River fans after being ousted from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Brazilian side International in August and the Copa Argentina by Talleres back in July. The team now sits third in Copa de la Liga’s Group A, just one point away from leaders Independiente.

For Boca, the match couldn’t have come at a worse time. After its tie against Brazilian side Palmeiras in the Copa Libertadores semi-final opener, coach Jorge Almirón sent out an alternative team to prioritize the away leg next Thursday. The Xeneizes have struggled in the Copa de la Liga, sitting ninth in Group B, five points away from leaders Racing Club.

Often considered the biggest derby in Argentine football, recent clashes have impressed more for the intensity than footballing flair. In the last 52 games, neither team has won by a margin of three goals or more. The last time was on March 10, 2002, when River achieved a historic 3-0 win at La Bombonera. Meanwhile, Boca’s last goleada was on April 8, 2001, also at its home ground.

After today’s game, the head-to-head tally still favors Boca, with 91 wins in 260 matches played between them across all eras and competitions. River won 86 matches, with 83 ties. In AFA tournaments, out of 215 games the Xeneize won 78, with 72 Millonario wins and 65 ties.


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