River Plate turn the tide in El Superclásico

River Plate 1 Boca Juniors 0

With footballers shipped out of Argentina after showing the first glimpse of talent there is an argument that the standard of the country’s top flight is on a par with the English League One.

Where Argentina finds itself in a league of its own however is the fervour with surrounds the country’s biggest game. River Plate and Boca Juniors may have been 12th and 15th place in the table going into the latest Superclásico but the occasion was a world apart from a mild mannered Westcountry clash between Exeter City and Bristol Rovers.

As with every meeting between these former neighbours the build-up brought to the boil more sub-plots than a decade of Coronation Street. Could River’s caretaker boss Jota Jota López mastermind a result that would secure him his job full-time? Would defeat for Boca’s beleaguered head coach Bichi Borghi final see him walk away from La Bombonera?

There was also mass debate over when the fixture would actually take place. The first delay came after the country suffered through four days of mourning following the death of former president Nestor Kirchner. The passing of the Peronist leader leaves behind Martin Palermo as the highest profile Argentinian sticking around in a job when packing up as soon as possible would serve his fans better.

A further delay came as a result of River’s El Monumental stadium being booked up the following Sunday for Paul McCartney’s trip to Buenos Aires. El Beatle played to a receptive crowd who still have love for Juan Román Riquelme and Ariel Ortega even if they have a combined age north of 64.

The next Sunday after the date the initial fixture was also unavailable, this time the Jonas Brothers took priority. By the time the match finally rolled around on Tuesday evening the trio of Boca’s Lucas Viatri and River’s Rogelio Funes Mori and Diego Buonanotte found themselves on the bench. The three young men were dropped despite receiving admiring glances from around the world, most notably England, Spain and Italy.

Despite the best efforts of presidents and pop stars the latest edition of El Superclásico finally got underway in Nuñez 16 days after first advertised. At least the game lived up to its billing as one of the world’s most coveted football matches by delivering next to nothing.

The only goal the match managed to muster deservedly went in favour of River. Celebrations were doubled by the fact that it was former Boca defender Jonathan Maidana who nodded home the winner.

The goal and a quiet night for the River backline capped off a good week for Maidana who has been invited to train with an Argentinian national team made of up locally based players.

Elsewhere on the pitch Ortega proved he still has enough in the tank to boss a game while either side of him teenagers Roberto Pereyra and Erik Lamela also troubled the Man of the Match panel. It was Lamela’s first taste of a Superclásico but the 18-year-old managed to inject some of the silky skills fans have come to expect from the fixture.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the night was River’s interim coach López. With over 450 appearances as a River player López has now bagged the head coach post until at least the end of the year as Los Millonarios trade in tiki-tiki for jota-jota.

For Boca an unfit Riquelme lasted until half-time while Palermo’s performance made Audley Harrison’s efforts against David Haye looked positively heroic. During the 90 minutes the visitors picked up more bookings than corners and the performance surely spells the end for Borghi.

After success earlier in the year with an unfashionable Argentinos Juniors side Borghi added a Clausura title to an already impressive CV which boasts multiple league titles in Chile. He would be well advised to sniff around the Chilean national job and leave behind the egos and has-beens that continue to undermine Boca’s return to the Copa Libertadores.

It will be of little consolation to the faithful of Los Bosteros that Borghi’s decision to play goalkeeper Javier García instead of Cristian Lucchetti proved a wise call. Instead, no blame for another limp performance will have to be shouldered by Riquelme or Palermo while Borghi will get both barrels.

With England preparing to take on a team which cheated its way to the last World Cup there’s nothing new about the adage “Football isn’t fair.” With this an accepted fact it must be reassuring for Borghi to know that the scales of injustice surrounding the world’s biggest club fixture are appropriately skewed.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003