Boca And River Close The First Semifinal Of The Copa Libertadores | Sports

Something big will happen this Tuesday night at the Bombonera, when the Argentine superclass closes its crossing through the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores: the poster of the team that takes the series will decorate the rooms of thousands of boys and girls in the country.

In the previous step to the continental final on Saturday, November 23 in Santiago – although Conmebol closely follows Chile's serious political and social crisis – River comes to the rematch with the advantage of having won 2-0 the first leg in the Monumental, while Boca has to be local to reverse the disadvantage and begin to heal the wound still open from the defeat he suffered against his classic rival in the final last year, in Madrid. The other finalist will be Brazilian and will be known on Wednesday, when Flamengo and Gremio open in Rio de Janeiro on the 1-1 they locked in the first leg in Porto Alegre.


The mythology of an ancestral party, with more than 100 years of history, waits with open arms for the consecration of new heroes: perhaps it is the apotheosis of some scorer, perhaps the immortality of an archer. The match will be a duel between a team that plays to be superior than its rivals – River, commanded by Marcelo Gallardo, the coach who built a cycle that accumulates seven international titles in five years – against a team that plays to win — mouth, directed by Gustavo Alfaro, more flat and free to the defensive bolt and offensive individuals.

If the Bombonera usually attracts attention because of the proximity between the playing field and the stands – 32 meters separate the headwaters of the Monumental arches against only seven of the Boca court – the climate of the superclassic will be even more effervescent than normal.

Although the xeneizes are pointers of the Argentine Super League, their fans threw an ultimatum to the squad and the leaders last Friday, when their team lost 1-0 against Racing at home. Boca seems to play something more than its rival, not only the pass to the final of the Cup and the cut of the supremacy of River in recent years, which accumulates four wins in direct definitions, including the finals of the Argentine Super Cup and the Libertadores of 2018. It is possible that, in addition, the result of the superclassic is directly proportional to what happens in the internal elections of the club, which will be held in December with the presence of several opposition candidates.

What in another area would not cease to be an internal matter of a club, in Argentina – where politics and football go hand in hand – may imply something else: Boca is managed by macrismo since 1995, so the president of the country, Mauricio Macri, will have to overcome several fronts in these weeks, also the sports one: Sunday will be the national, provincial and municipal elections that will test his political party.

Although they are not the best days to play football in many parts of the world – in Spain the classic Barcelona-Real Madrid was postponed, in Mexico the definition for promotion was postponed, in Ecuador the women's Libertadores Cup had to start later and in Chile the tournament is suspended – the latest history of the Argentine superclass in continental competitions also forces us to be vigilant: the rematches of the last two series ended in chaos.

Boca fans threw pepper gas at the River players in the retaliation of the knockout stages of the 2015 Cup and River supporters threw stones at the bus that moved rival players to the Monumental for the frustrated final of last edition, an aggression that would end with the move to Santiago Bernabéu. Win the team that is, with the comeback of Boca or the celebration of River in a foreign detour, the real triumph would be that the photo of the night has a sporting spirit.

You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe here to the Newsletter.