• Analysis

Match Preview: Boca Juniors vs River Plate

Boca Juniors
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Boca Juniors will welcome River Plate to La Bombonera stadium for their second leg encounter of the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.

It is derby time in Buenos Aires, as arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate square off tonight at 02:30 (CET) after midnight.

Los Millonarios are heading into the game with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg played at the Monumental Stadium three weeks ago.

They are undefeated in their last five encounters across all competitions, noting four wins and a draw – in their most recent outing against Arsenal Sarandi (3-3) in the Argentine League over the past weekend.

Boca Juniors, on the other hand, suffered their first league defeat in the 2019-20 campaign three days ago, losing 1-0 at home to Racing. The Xeneizes, however, retained their first place on the Superliga table with 21 points from the opening 10 games.

They now have a tough task ahead of them, to overturn a two-goal deficit against the Copa Libertadores title holders, the side that defeated them in the big final last season.

Team news

Experienced duo Daniele de Rossi and Carlos Tevez are doubtful ahead of the upcoming Superclasico, having both sat out the league encounter vs Racing Club last weekend.

Ramon Abila will most likely miss the game through injury, while Nicolas Capaldo is suspended, after being sent off in the first leg at the Monumental Stadium.

River’s hero from last year’s final Juan Fernando Quintero has been announced among the squad members for this game although, he’s expected to start on the bench due to lack of match fitness.

Bruno Zuculini, Cristian Ferreira, German Lux and Benjamin Rollheiser were all snubbed by head coach Marcelo Gallardo, who didn’t name them in the traveling squad for the derby.

Talk to the press

Boca Juniors boss Gustavo Alfaro described the upcoming Superclasico as “the most important game of his life” in a post-game interview, after the 1-0 defeat to Racing a couple of days ago.

“We work Racing and River in separate blocks. Many of the things we prepared for this game were done, but we lacked offensive arrogance, to be more effective in the definition.

“Tuesday will be the most important game of my life, that’s how I’m living and I’m going to face it,” said Alfaro via Boca’s official website.

Marcelo Gallardo says he is prepared for everything that comes on his way of reaching back-to-back Copa Libertadores finals.

“We are excited to go to Boca tomorrow and be able to qualify. We have predicted several ways in which the game can go and we are prepared for everything that comes our way,” said Gallardo at a press conference.

“The team will be the same one who played here on the River ground. The players are calm and confident but not relaxed. It is not our characteristic to relax before important games. We have to be very intelligent to play this game.

“We don’t have statistics in mind. We live in the present. I am sure that the players who are going out on the field tomorrow will respond to a key game. And if I have to make any modifications I have the variants to do it.”


River Plate have beaten Boca Juniors in their last three Copa Libertadores encounters, including the last year’s big final.

Boca Junior’s most recent win over their arch-rivals in this competition dates back to June 2004. The Xeneizes won that semi-final on penalties, but lost the same way to Colombian side Once Caldas in the final.

They’ve actually failed to beat River Plate in each of their last seven Superclasicos across all competitions.

Los Millonarios are still undefeated in the competition this season, with four wins and seven draws in 11 encounters since the start of the 2019 campaign.

Their most recent and only defeat in Copa Libertadores over the past two years came in the first leg of the semi-finals last season, a 1-0 home loss to Gremio.