River Plate and Boca Juniors will meet today in a new edition of the Superclásico, the Argentine term used to refer to the match between two historically rival teams. The game will be played at 5:30 p.m. at River’s Monumental stadium.
This is River’s first Superclásico with former footballer Martín Demichelis as coach. The team is leading the Argentine Professional League with 34 points —an outstanding difference over Boca, which scored only 18 points, although it is the reigning champion of the competition.
This is the 215th edition of the Superclásico and, so far, the record favors Boca: they won 78 matches, while River won 70. They drew 66 times.
The last Superclásico played at the Monumental stadium was last year for the League Cup —Boca won, led by Sebastián Battaglia and with Marcelo Gallardo as River’s manager.
Today, the city of Buenos Aires government announced that they will deploy 1,400 police officers around the Monumental, which can fit up to 84,000 people.
The stadium’s doors will open at 1:30 p.m. in order to guarantee enough time for people to enter quietly and find their seats.
Herald Archive: a mythical Boca-River superclásico
In December 1976, Boca and River faced each other in a mythical final: the first one that was defined by a Superclasico. The match remains in the memory of Argentines especially because Boca won 1-0 with a controversial goal scored by Rubén Suñé from a free kick.
Twenty-seven minutes into the second half, River’s Daniel Passarella committed a foul on Carlos Veglio near the box, an action that opened the way for a play that would remain forever in Argentine soccer: a dangerous free kick for Boca.
Referee Arturo Ithurralde had warned the team captains before the game that FIFA had decided that it was not necessary to blow the whistle before taking a free kick.
Suñé was quick to take advantage of the rule change. No one from River stood in front of the ball, which traveled into the net, in front of a stunned Roberto Mouzo, the presumed kicker. That speed gave Boca the victory.
Here’s how the Herald recounted that pivotal moment at the time:
“Suñe scores Boca’s goal from a free kick in the national championship final against River Plate and a controversy starts. Referee Arturo Ithurralde had not blown the whistle – but according to the rules he does not have to. He must tell opponents to move back if they are too near the ball IF HE IS ASKED BY BOCA TO DO SO. Suñe said he did not ask, but the referee is seen making a gesture as if to send the River Plate defensive wall further back (which, he says, he did not). So Ithurralde’s gesture was wrong and it may have disorganised River’s defence just as Suñe shot. After the match Boca coach Lorenzo said the match had 0-0 written all over and that only a bad mistake by either team would produce a goal – and it did. But it was not a casual goal, Lorenzo added. Boca players had practices it hard in training and they know River Plate were sometimes notoriously slow in forming their defensive wall. Ironically, prior to the match, when the referee called the two captains togehter, River’s Perfumo asked whether they could take free kicks without waiting for the whistle. Suñe listened and remembered, Perfumo apparently forgot.”