It is Superclasico time in Argentina as River Plate and Boca Juniors square off in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals.
River Plate will welcome Boca Juniors tonight at 02:30 (CET) in a replay of last year’s Copa Libertadores final.
The sides meet each other in the semi-finals this time, both of them looking to book back-to-back finals in the most prestigious international club competition in South America.
Reigning champions River Plate, head into the game on the back of a 2-0 away win at Gimnasia La Plata over the past weekend. They defeated Cruzeiro on penalties and Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno (3-1 on aggregate) in the previous two rounds respectively.
Boca Juniors (runners up from 2018), eliminated Athletico Paranaense and LDU Quito on their way to the semi-finals.
They will be seeking revenge over their fierce rivals after the 5-3 loss on aggregate in last season’s title decider.
River Plate could have several absences ahead of the match with German Lux, Leonardo Ponzio and Juan Fernando Quintero already ruled out.
Lucas Pratto, Cristian Ferreira and Nicolas de la Cruz were also dealing with injuries over the past few days, but are expected to be fit for the upcoming Superclasico this evening.
— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) September 30, 2019
Legendary Italian midfielder Daniele de Rossi recovered on time to face the South American Champions, as he joins Carlos Tevez as one of the most experienced players in the Boca Juniors squad.
Their head coach Gustavo Alfaro chose to rest a few players ahead of the Copa Libertadores semi-final clash, so he has his best performers fresh for the big derby.
Talk to the press
River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo believes this game will not be decisive in the Copa Libertadores semi-final clash against Boca Juniors.
“We are about to play the first game against Boca. It will be an important one. We hope to be able to do a great job with the dynamics that we have been having, with a lot of strength as we did the last few times,” said Marcelo Gallardo.
“This match does not define the series. We will give our all to achieve a triumph and a good result, but if we do not obtain it, we also have one more chance, we are also dangerous as visitors.
🏆 Copa Libertadores semi-finals
🗓1 Oct & 22 Oct
🇺🇸 EST 20:30
🇪🇺 CET 02:30
Subject to modification, needless to say. pic.twitter.com/DcgA6hv89w
— River Plate in English (@CARP_English) August 30, 2019
“He [Quintero] still lacks training, he is not ready for a game yet. It is not necessary to rush with his return. If it continues like this, he will be ready for the second leg.
The reigning champions are unbeaten in the Copa Libertadores this season, having noted three wins and seven draws on the road to the semi-finals.
They’ve kept four clean sheets in five home games in the competition, conceding only in the 2-2 draw against Internacional last May.
Boca Juniors, on the other hand, are yet to concede in the knockout stage, as they registered three wins and one goalless draw in the past two rounds.
The most recent Superclasico came exactly one month ago – a 0-0 draw at the Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti Stadium.
Believe it or not, the hosts failed to register a win in this fixture in the last 12 games in the Argentine League or Copa Libertadores, ever since River Plate’s 1-0 win back in May 2015.