Boca Juniors vs River Plate
Competition: Copa Libertadores
Date: 10 November 2018
Kick-off: 21:00 CET
While Boca Juniors’ players were preparing themselves mentally for the first leg of this historic final, their fans were… fighting to secure a ticket. On Thursday, police had to intervene, when angry fans tried to break into the stadium, enraged, because they had failed to find a ticket. The club was expected to apply a “filter”, give priority to members who went to at least four of the six home games they have played in the Libertadores this season. For some reason, they decided not to apply any filter. The result was that many members who had been to all six home matches, and even to some outside Argentina, were left without a ticket. La Bombonera is old and small, for Boca’s needs. It can accommodate less than 50,000 people, and it’s a common secret that Daniel Angelici’s “dirigencia” offers… special treatment to “barras”, so as to have them satisfied, quiet. The result of that is that even less tickets are made available for every home game, let alone this final against River. It goes without writing, if you’re not a member and you wanted to watch this game, your only way was through certain websites that target mostly tourists, and had tickets at absolutely in-sa-ne prices. Boca beat Tigre 4-1 at home last weekend, the perfect “warm-up” before the first leg of the Libertadores final. Central midfielder Pablo Pérez spent most of the week training with less intensity than his teammates, troubled by an injury, but should start. He, Nahitan Nández and Lucas Olaza have to be very careful not to receive a yellow card, because in that case, they’ll lose the return leg. Boca are expected to start with Rossi, Jara, Izquierdoz, Magallán, Olaza, Barrios, Pavón, Nández, Pérez, Villa and Wanchope.
River Plate lost 1-0 at Estudiantes last weekend, they lost Nacho Scocco as well, who got injured, had to get substituted in the first half, and up until 24 hours before kick-off the prevailing feeling was that he wouldn’t be ready for the first leg. Marcelo Gallardo is expected to have Armani, Montiel, Maidana, Pinola, Casco, Nacho Fernández, Enzo Pérez, Pratto, Palacios, Pity Martínez and Borré in the starting lineup. Defensive midfielder and captain Leonardo Ponzio is definitely out, injured, and Enzo Pérez will start instead. Maidana, Pinola, Enzo Pérez, Borré and Pity Álvarez will lose the return leg if they receive a yellow card at La Bombonera. Quintero should be used as a sub at some point, and he too needs to be very careful not to receive a yellow card. As for Gallardo, after everything that happened in Porto Alegre in the return leg of the semifinal against Gremio, CONMEBOL banned him from entering La Bombonera(!). He can’t even watch the game from the stands. According to reports, CONMEBOL went that far as to consider installing a special device that blocks mobile phone signal at River’s dressing room, so as to make sure that El Muñeco won’t get in touch with his assistants during the game. He is banned from attending the return leg as well.
Previous five matches:
Boca Juniors vs Tigre 4-1
Palmeiras vs Boca Juniors 2-2
Gimnasia La Plata vs Boca Juniors 2-1
Boca Juniors vs Palmeiras 2-0
Boca Juniors vs Rosario Central 0-0
Estudiantes vs River Plate 1-0
Gremio vs River Plate 1-2
River Plate vs Aldosivi 1-0
River Plate vs Gremio 0-1
Colon vs River Plate 1-0
Both teams’ next game is on November 24, at Monumental, River’s stadium, the return leg of the Copa Libertadores final.
Boca Juniors vs River Plate: Head to head Stats
Just one win for Boca, three for River, and a draw, in the last five games between these two at La Bombonera.
Boca Juniors vs River Plate: Prediction
Boca are considered favorites to win the game. Not big ones, but favorites nonetheless. Personally, if I had to choose one of the three possible results, I’d go for draw.
Boca Juniors vs River Plate: Betting Tips
All football fans are hoping for goals, excitement, memorable moments, but I hate to admit that I expect none of that. I do expect a goalless draw, and very few real chances in front of the two goals. As a football fan, I hope I’m wrong. Draw pays 2.90, or 3.20, if combined with “under 2.5 goals”. “Under 1.5” is at 2.25. I repeat, my hunch “says” that the game will end without goals.