Buenos Aires Times

sports REGIONAL FOOTBALL

Are River and Boca destined to meet in the Copa Libertadores final?

The chances of an all-Argentine Superclásico showdown are increasing, as the region's top club competition reaches semi-final stage. In the way? Two Brazilian sides.

Monday 8 October, 2018
Dario Benedetto of Boca Juniors, right, strikes the ball as defender Jonatan Maidana of River Plate attempts to block him during the Superclásico clash back in September.
Dario Benedetto of Boca Juniors, right, strikes the ball as defender Jonatan Maidana of River Plate attempts to block him during the Superclásico clash back in September. Foto:AP/Natacha Pisarenko

Argentina's biggest rivals are on track to reach a giant Superclásico showdown as they fight for the continent's biggest club prize.

With nine Copa Libertadores titles between them, Boca Juniors and River Plate now have to get past two Brazilian clubs to meet in the final for the first time in 58 years of the competition's history.

Inspired by 22-year-old sensation Cristian Pavón, six-time champions Boca has already ousted a Brazilian team — Cruzeiro — to reach the semi-finals.

Last week, striker Ignacio Scocco helped River Plate advance past local rival Independiente.

When River and Boca met in the round of 16 in 2015, the second leg ended in controversy in La Bombonera. Boca fans targeted rival players with pepper spray, the game was stopped, and River was awarded the victory.

"Let's take it easy," River chairman Rodolfo D'Onofrio. "Both of us have very tough adversaries."

Three-time champions River has a semi-final against Gremio, the defending champions who advanced by routing Argentine side Atlético Tucumán 6-0 on aggregate.

Six-time champions Boca takes on Palmeiras, led by 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari.

Palmeiras hasn't reached the Copa Libertadores final since winning in 1999 when Scolari was also in charge.

The first leg of the semifinals will be over October 23-25. The second legs are on October 30 and November 1.

COPA SUDAMERICANA

South America's second most prestigious cup is at the quarter-final stage, featuring three teams each from Brazil and Colombia.

Bahia and Atlético Paranaense meet in an all-Brazilian encounter. The winners will take on Fluminense of Brazil or Nacional, the Uruguayan side which surprisingly eliminated Argentine favourites San Lorenzo.

There's an all-Colombian matchup between Santa Fe and Deportivo Cali. The winner could face a Colombian side if Junior Barranquilla beats Defensa y Justicia.

The winners of the Copa Sudamericana secure a spot in the next Copa Libertadores.

"TORO" SENSATION

The heir to Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani might be emerging in Uruguay.

Gabriel Fernández has retained his player of the month award in Uruguay after scoring a league-leading nine goals for Peñarol.

The 24-year-old striker, who is nicknamed "Toro," scored three goals in the last four matches of September. Watch out for him soon in the Uruguay national team.

BRAZIL STREAMING

Brazil is getting in on the football streaming revolution.

The rights to broadcast games from the national championship from 2019 to 2022 have been sold for US$150 million to live streaming platform Fanfoot.

The contract was signed with company BRFOOT Midia and the values will be equally split among 18 clubs. TV Globo, Brazil's most powerful media group, owns broadcasting rights of the country's national championships.

Facebook said last week it would broadcast live matches from the Copa Libertadores next year, after reaching a four-year deal to acquire part of the rights to the biggest club tournament in South America.

- AP

Poll

Op-Ed

Top Stories

  1. 1'Suspected anarchists' carry out two attacks in Buenos Aires; Police arrest 13'Suspected anarchists' carry out two attacks in Buenos Aires; Police arrest 13
  2. 2Off the radar: Argentina's gender pay gap and the attempts to tackle it
  3. 3Ledesma makes one change to Pumas team for France test
  4. 4ARA San Juan: Relatives of missing officers call on Ocean Infinity to search new site
  5. 5Murder, outrage, then impasse: gun crime’s repeating cycle in the US
  6. 6Labour shortages force Japan to prise open door to migrant workers
  7. 7Gene-edited food is coming, but will shoppers buy?
  8. 8Standard and Poor's cuts Argentina debt rating
  9. 9Changing Buenos Aires' beer culture, one pinta at a time
  10. 10Putin confirms Russian companies will invest in Argentina's rail modernisation