Friday, October 4, 2013

Boca-River is THE derby

Buenos Aires is taken hostage by Sunday's Superclasico 

The silence was defeaning.

Visiting Boca Juniors had just dispatched its archrivals River Plate in the 2004 Copa Libertadores semifinals in penalty kicks but the only cheers heard were on the pitch among the Boca brethren. Violence had condemned both sides to ban its respective away supporters for the two-legged tie.

Almost 10 years later, following a government ban on visiting fans because of several deaths towards the end of last season, this weekend's Argentine Superclasico again will only have home fans, with Estadio Monumental boasting the red-and-white colors as River fans will take full advantage of its home field advantage.

That won't stop from close to 1,000 officers from being deployed for this fixture Sunday as Boca supporters will surely be out in full numbers to accompany the team bus to the stadium.

On the pitch, River manager Ramon Diaz--who just inked a two-year extension--will see his Colombian forward Teofilo Gutierrez get his first taste of this derby. Midfielder Cristian Ledesma will help orchestrate his side's battles against Juan Roman Riquelme and Fernando Gago, both of whom played for the first time together in a Boca kit in last week's win over Quilmes.

We've already mentioned how cool and collected Manchester City boss Manuel Pelligrini was ahead of his first derby against Manchester United when he pointed out that the Boca-River clash was much more intense. The Chilean master also had alluded that the Real Madrid-Barcelona was cake compared with Argentine pressure. But don't take his word for it.  Have a look Sunday.

Boca and River both side in fourth and fifth, four and six points out of leaders and defending champions Newell's Old Boys.

-Tio Pelotas