Argentine Football Rivalries (Part 5): El SuperclÃ¡sico
It’s a Sunday in December 2018 and I’m at home in Bristol. It’s cold and dull outside. I text a friend in Madrid asking what it’s like there. The Spanish capital, originally placed in the exact centre of the country to control Spain’s independently-minded regions, is high above sea level. As a result, it sizzles in summer and freezes in winter.
I’m told the city is full of Argentines. Tonight River Plate will play Boca Juniors in the final of South America’s premier cup competition the Copa Libertadores. The match is being billed as the biggest club football match of all time. It’s hard to disagree. The two biggest clubs in Argentina both have fanatical fan bases. The passion is second to none.
I receive more news from Madrid. My friend has been out in the centre and spots a man, a River Plate fan sat on a wall with a beer. His leg is shaking. His arm is also shaking and the beer is spilling all over the floor. She approaches him concerned as to his welfare. She asks if he is OK. The reply is as follows “I’m OK, I think. I am just so nervous. We have to win today. We can’t lose. It just can’t be possible. This is the biggest match of my life!”
I wish I was there in Madrid but circumstances meant that it wasn’t possible. Madrid may be cold today but it’s about to get hot. Very hot. The final of a competition named after liberation from the Spanish is about to be held in the capital of their former colonial masters. It has to be this way though because it’s not possible to play the match at its original venue, El Monumental in Buenos Aires. The biggest match of all time just became too big.
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is 6,249 miles away from Madrid down in the southern hemisphere. The city was established on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza. Situated on the banks of the Rio de La Plata or the River Plate it’s a city of 15.6 million people. The name Buenos Aires means ‘Good Air.’
Due to its location, the city became an important port. The old main port was in the barrio of La Boca which means the mouth. The port became vitally important to the region with it lying on the Rio de La Plata with navigable rivers off it connecting to Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. This meant that the city and the barrio were strongly influenced by immigrants. Many Italians arrived mainly from the city of Genoa and also the British. The Italians would bring a strong cultural influence to the city with around 60% of Argentinians claiming Italian heritage. It’s often said that Argentines are Italians that speak Spanish. The British brought what to this day is the Argentine national obsession and what you could argue defines them as a nation: football.
Football became popular in La Boca and two clubs that were formed there that went by the names of Santa Rosa and La Rosales decided to merge. So it was that on 25 May 1901 the barrio of La Boca had its first club that is well known around the world today. That club was not Boca Juniors though. When searching for a name for the new club one of the club members observed a group of dockworkers playing football. They glanced over at the discarded boxes of goods that they had hauled into the port and their gaze was drawn to the inscription on the side of them. They read simply ‘River Plate’ to confirm their destination. One of Argentina and the worlds biggest clubs was now born.
Between 1880 and 1920 the number of immigrants from Italy was at its peak. They had come to hopefully find a better life. During this period only New York welcomed more Italians than Buenos Aires. Most settled in La Boca. Around this time tango was born in the barrio. The dance became popular with the migrants.
When not dancing the tango at night, the newly arrived Italian men needed something to do with their leisure time during the day. On 3 April 1905, a group of Genovese along with some Greeks met to form a football club. They decided that they wished to name the club after their barrio. They also wished to tip their hat to the English and so wanted an anglicised name. Who knows perhaps they took inspiration from the River Plate club in this regard but the name they decided on was Boca Juniors or if you like, the sons of Boca.
River Plate conceived their famous red sash on a white shirt in 1904. It’s one of the most recognised football shirts in the world, inspiring Rayo Vallecano in Spain and the Peru national side. Boca also wears an instantly recognisable shirt and it’s an interesting tale as to how they decided on these colours.
Boca played Nottingham de Almagro in 1906 and both sides had similar blue and white pinstriped jerseys. They decided that the winner of the match would get to keep the colours. Boca lost and so they needed a new design. They decided that they would don the colours of the flag of the next ship to sail into La Boca, which happened to be from Sweden. They had now acquired their famous blue and yellow shirts. The port of La Boca was proving a huge influence on both clubs, with Boca getting their colours due to a ship in the harbour and River their name from a crate of goods. Boca originally had a yellow sash on blue, much like River but they decided to switch to their famous horizontal stripe in 1913.
This was also the year the two met for the first time, on the 24th of August. River won the match 2-1, but it was reported that Boca were much the better side. A flag was burnt as tensions as to who was the best in the barrio mounted. Boca could argue they were when they lifted their first championship in 1919. River also had a claim shortly after, as they won their first league title only one year later. However, in those days there were two different competitions from two different associations running alongside each other consecutively. Boca were also champions in 1920.
Who was the best in the barrio of La Boca became an irrelevance in 1923 when River moved to the affluent Belgrano district in the north of the city. This had a huge impact on River and the makeup of their fan base. No longer were they in the staunchly working-class immigrant district of La Boca and they now started to attract a different type of supporter. River could charge more for entry to matches with members coming from the local more well off neighbourhood. This allowed them to spend more on players. This coupled with the building of their enormous El Monumental stadium in 1938 led to them becoming christened Los Millonarios. River was now the team of the establishment.
El Monumental has a capacity of 70,074, making it the largest stadium in Argentina. The stadium is also home to the Argentine national team with La Albiceleste playing most of their matches there. It was also the host stadium of the 1978 World Cup final which Argentina won. When it’s full to capacity as it often is, it is one of the most wonderful sights in world football with an atmosphere right up there as the best of anything in the world. It’s almost as if El Monumental defines River and their image.
Shortly after the construction of El Monumental, down in La Boca in 1940 Boca Juniors built a stadium that also defines them. La Bombonera translates as The Chocolate Box. With space at a premium in the barrio, the only way to produce a stadium of suitable capacity for such a big club as Boca was to build upwards. The stands tower and overhang the pitch on three sides, giving the impression of a box of chocolates, thus the name. El Monumental may host most international matches but when Argentina require a result in a defining fixture they sometimes use La Bombonera to take advantage of its intimidating atmosphere, hoping this helps tip the balance in their favour.
La Bombonera has provided Boca with some of their nicknames. La Doce is one which means The Twelfth Man, referring to the passionate fans that roar the team on. Having experienced La Bombonera myself, when it’s rocking it truly shakes. The other is Los Bosteros which translates as The Manure Handlers. This is due to the smell that would emanate from the brick factory nearby that used horse manure to make the bricks. During derbies at La Bombonera, River players have been known to enter the pitch holding their noses as an insult. In part due to the nickname but also in an act of snobbery. La Boca being staunchly working-class and near the polluted Rio de la Plata. The other is Xeneizes due to the founders of the club and the Italian immigrant community in the barrio. It’s the Genovese dialect spelling.
By this time with their respective new stadiums built both clubs had risen to become the most popular in Argentina. They once may have competed to be the best in La Boca, but now it was not only the capital but the country. This popularity was surely helped by success in the 1930s. Both clubs secured four league titles each but the 1940’s would belong to River and their greatest ever side.
La MÃ¡quina was the name bestowed on them: The Machine. So good was this side that they were known for their ability to rotate positions on the field at will. They were the genesis and inspiration for the Dutch total football of the 1970s, so it’s hard to underestimate their influence on the future of the game. The side also featured one of the greatest footballers of all time: Alfredo Di Stefano.
Boca looked on enviously with their midfielder Ernesto Lazatti having this to say about that team “I play against La MÃ¡quina with the full intention of beating them, but as a fan of football, I would prefer to sit on the stands and watch them play.” They won four league titles in the 1940s and a further five in the 1950s, including three in a row.
This River side helped to define the differences between the two teams on the pitch and perhaps off it in terms of the philosophies of the clubs. At River it’s expected that the team must win but they must win well, playing beautiful football and scoring lots of goals. At Boca winning is all and hard work and ‘sweating the shirt’ is demanded. You must win but by what means that is achieved is immaterial. If the match is won with a dodgy penalty or a goal is scored by poking the ball in with a hand then so be it. If this is how you beat River then even better. These two polar views on the game perhaps reflect the different experiences of the two neighbourhoods of the affluent Belgrano and the tough working-class La Boca.
The 1960s were a good decade for Boca on the pitch where they won four league titles. They were led by their inspirational captain Antonio Rattin, who made a name for himself for all the wrong reasons on the Wembley pitch in 1966. A one-club man and Boca supporter since childhood, he remains a Boca icon. River didn’t win any titles during the 60s and this was a barren time for the club with this decade being in the middle of a surprising 18-year league title drought. The most notable incident of the decade for River came in 1966 the year of Rattin’s infamous Wembley exit. They reached the final of the Copa Libertadores where they played PeÃ±arol of Uruguay.
River were 2-0 up at half-time and cruising. PeÃ±arol midfielder NÃ©stor GonÃ§alves claims that he and his teammates made threats to the River players telling them that if they won the match they would hunt them down in their changing room or back at their hotel. River crumbled and the match finished 2-2. In extra-time, PeÃ±arol scored twice more to win 4-2. In a position of strength and looking like the only team in it, whether River collapsed in the face of intimidation or not it was a golden opportunity wasted. Their rivals bestowed on them the nickname Gallinas: Chickens. The name not only fitted the collapse but also fit into the idea that Los Millonarios were posh, middle-class and soft as opposed to the hard men of La Boca.
La Boca may have had a reputation for toughness but they weren’t immune from tragedy. It was in June 1968 at El Monumental that El SuperclÃ¡sico saw it’s biggest disaster known as the Puerta 12 Tragedy. The match finished goalless and as the Boca fans left swiftly there was a crush at gate 12. 71 Boca fans were killed and 150 injured with the average age of the victims being a heartbreakingly young 19. The cause of the disaster remains shrouded in mystery with several claims as to the cause. One is that Boca fans threw burning River flags from the upper-tier causing a stampede in the lower. It’s also been claimed that River fans got access to the Boca section causing the fans to flee. Others claim the gate was locked or couldn’t open in time to allow fans through safely. River’s former president William Kent even claimed that it was caused by police in response to Boca fans throwing urine at them. Whatever the reason the possible causes have frightening echoes of what was to come at Heysel and Hillsborough. Following a government inquiry, the cause and responsibility for the disaster have not been confirmed much to the distress of the families of the victims. No one has been brought to account to this day.
On the pitch, the 1970s were a good decade for both the SuperclÃ¡sico rivals. River secured five league titles while Boca claimed three. It was in 1977 that Boca won their first Copa Libertadores. River had again lost in the final the year before, continuing to live up to the Gallinas tag. Up until Boca’s win, Independiente had won six, Estudiantes three and Racing one. That’s 10 Libertadores titles heading to Argentina but not to one of the countries two biggest clubs. Boca duly lifted it again in ’78.
River’s seventies success had been in large part due to both their and Argentina’s captain Daniel Passarella. He was a boyhood Boca fan who changed his allegiance upon signing for River. A tough defender and natural leader with staunch right-wing views, he would later insist that players must cut their hair to play for the national team when he became the coach. He had a fractious relationship with that other darling of Argentine football, Diego Maradona.
1981 was the year that Argentina’s most revered player signed for his beloved Boca. They duly won the league that year. Maradona may have only spent a season on loan there from Argentinos Juniors but he fitted the Boca mythology perfectly. He would do anything to win and had dragged himself up from one Buenos Aires Villa Miseria’s. It also happened that he was a fantastic player and wore his heart on his sleeve. A typical Argentine ‘pibe’ – short, stocky and skilful, playing in the number ten role known as enganche.
In 1983 River signed an enganche of their own in Uruguayan Enzo Francescoli. A delightful player, he caught the eye of Maradona himself and later became the boyhood idol of Zinedine Zidane. Zidane even named one of his son’s after him. ’83 was a bad year for River, finishing second from bottom in the table only saved from relegation by the Argentine system of points average over three seasons to determine who went down. The system was designed specifically to avoid the possible fate of the likes of River being relegated after only one bad season.
It wasn’t to last and with Francescoli leading the attack, River finally put the ghost to rest and won their first Libertadores in 1986. This should perhaps have been enough to put the Gallinas jibe to bed but the insult continues to this day.
Boca and River dominated Argentine football in the ’90s where they claimed 10 league titles between them. This decade cemented them more than ever as the country’s two biggest clubs. The ’90s was also the period where the passion of the fans in the SuperclÃ¡sico spilt over into violence and this remains a major problem in Argentina. In 1994 the SuperclÃ¡sico produced a 2-0 win for River. Boca’s barra brava ambushed a bus full of River fans travelling home and at the end of the carnage two River fans were left dead. In the aftermath, graffiti appeared all over the walls of the city. It chillingly read ‘2-2.’
The ’90s may have seen the rise of violence but it also saw the rise of Boca. River had the great La MÃ¡quina era and Boca was about to enter their golden period. They won nine titles in total with the indomitable Larry David lookalike Carlos Bianchi in charge. Bianchi had done well in his first job in Argentine football at VÃ©lez Sarsfield, a medium-sized club from the west of Buenos Aires that he led to three league titles and a Copa Libertadores.
His tenure in La Boca started well with successive league titles and an impressive 40 match unbeaten run. A record in Argentine football eclipsing the achievements of Racing Club in the 1960s. His side featured the prolific goalscorer MartÃn Palermo and another great Argentine number 10 in Juan RomÃ¡n Riquelme. This was just the tip of the iceberg though with the Copa Libertadores being secured after 22 years in 2000. Later that year the Real Madrid of LuÃs Figo, RaÃºl et al were dispatched 2-1 in the Intercontinental Cup. This was a fantastic achievement considering that this was now the era where Argentine stars would move to Europe. He won the Libertadores again in 2001 just for good measure.
Sadly Bianchi left the club in 2002 after a falling out with Mauricio Macri. Then Boca’s president and future president of Argentina, Macri was an unlikely Boca fan based on the old class composition of Boca’s support. Macri was a successful businessman of inherited wealth who did not share the predominately left-leaning views of the residents of La Boca. This showed that when it came to the SuperclÃ¡sico rivals the old assumptions were long gone. Both clubs were so big class was no longer an issue. Fans came from all walks of life.
The Bianchi era at Boca was also a fruitful time for River with them winning the championships that Boca didn’t. Both sides were strong during the 2000s and so it is no surprise they met in the Copa Libertadores. The SuperclÃ¡sico is always a high charged passionate affair but the Libertadores takes it to another level. Boca is immensely proud that they have more than River despite having fewer league championships. River’s obsession is to overtake Boca in the Libertadores stakes.
They met at the semi-final stage in 2004. Boca was leading the first leg 1-0 when they went to El Monumental for the second. River went 1-0 up to level the tie. Carlos Tevez, like Maradona before him, had come from the villa’s to play for Boca, who again like Maradona he supported as a boy. It was for this reason and his obvious footballing ability that he was beloved by the fans. Boca supporters like nothing more than someone who drags themselves up from the bottom. With five minutes remaining and Boca already down to 10 men, Tevez scored to seemingly win the match. He then proceeded to celebrate by flapping his arms up and down to imitate a chicken. The fans in El Monumental watched on stunned apart from those that were baying for Tevez blood. Fearing a riot the referee sent Tevez off. Boca down to nine. Even professional players were not capable of containing themselves. Violence was avoided when the River equaliser arrived in injury time. Boca won on penalties. They also won the final.
That was a bad experience for River but the worst of all was to come. After three poor seasons, they found themselves in a dire situation. Daniel Passarella, the darling of the River fans had returned as president but the slide had already begun. On 26 June 2011 River faced Belgrano of CÃ³rdoba in a relegation play-off. Belgrano had finished fourth in Primera B Nacional and had to beat River over two legs to win promotion. They won the first 2-0 and so it was back to El Monumental. River went 1-0 up but Belgrano equalised. River missed a penalty and so 1-1 it stayed. Amazingly, staggeringly the unthinkable had happened. River Plate had been relegated. The average points over three seasons system may have been devised to prevent this sort of thing happening but there it was. To put this into perspective it is the equivalent of Manchester United or Real Madrid going down in the modern era.
El Monumental was stunned. The players were in tears. They had to be kept on the pitch and surrounded by police for their own safety. In the stands, many cried. Those that weren’t crying were angry. Shouting, throwing objects and then, flames. The fans had set the stadium on fire. Riots in the area went on for days. Affluent northern Buenos Aires resembled a war zone.
Down in La Boca, it was carnival time. To this day Boca fans sing about how River will ‘never lose the stain of the B’ while moving their arms up and down to imitate an elevator to symbolise River’s demotion. They also sing of how River fans set fire to El Monumental. River is now known to Boca fans as ‘RiBer’. A Boca fan friend of mine told me that River being relegated was the greatest day of his Boca supporting life. Not a trophy for the Xeneizes but the darkest day in the history of their rivals. Boca fans also said that relegation confirmed that River truly were chickens.
They, of course, bounced straight back winning promotion at a canter. David Trezeguet, a River fan, had returned to help them in this quest and he didn’t let them down. It was only one season, albeit a season that should never have happened. Upon their return 90’s hero, Marcelo Gallardo was appointed coach and he oversaw the River revival.
They clinched the Copa Sudamericana in 2014 along with the league title. The following year finished second in their Libertadores group after a poor start to the campaign. This meant they faced the winners of another group in the round of 16. Nothing too out of the ordinary there except the winners of the group that they had to face was Boca.
Animosity in the stands and the streets had increased to levels never seen before. Away fans were now banned in Argentina due to numerous violent incidents. River won the first leg 1-0 and so took a slender lead to La Bombonera. Still, with no away fans allowed in the stadium then surly there would no problems, right? Wrong.
It was 0-0 at half-time so Boca had 45 minutes to rescue the tie. This was not beyond the realms of possibility as Boca had a good side that won the league that year. There were palpable tensions in the stands but this was pretty much par for the course in the fixture. In Argentina, teams take to the field through separate tunnels to keep them apart. Another feature is that the tunnels themselves are protected by a sleeve to prevent the players from being hit by objects thrown from the crowd. A sadly common occurrence. The away tunnel at La Bombonera is located at the end of the stadium behind the goal that the barra brava populate. Maybe not the best of locations.
As the River players came through to enter the pitch, AdriÃ¡n Napolitano known as ‘El Panadero’ – ‘The Baker’ – a man with links to the barras, although not a fully-fledged member, tore a hole in the covering and unleashed pepper spray at the shocked River players. Four subsequently needed hospital treatment and the scenes on the pitch were bedlam. The match was called off much to the anger of the Boca officials who felt that River was making the most of what was admittedly a dreadful incident. While all this was going on a drone was flown over the pitch with a bed sheet with a giant ‘B’ on it. Boca was thrown out the competition and Napolitano has subsequently said that he only intended to put River off their game and that he didn’t mean to hurt them. What he thought pepper spray would do is anyone’s guess. He is still banned from La Bombonera. River, of course, won that years Libertadores.
With all this in the previous Libertadores meeting, there was a mixture of both huge excitement and trepidation when both Boca and River reached the final in 2018. It was to be the last final played over two legs home and away with the next years final being a more European one-off affair in a host city. It was billed as the biggest match of all time. Santi BauzÃ¡ told Copa 90 “Imagine Real Madrid and Barcelona meeting in the final of the Champions League x 100!” This was not hyperbole. Those that know Argentines and Argentinian football knew exactly what he meant.
The first leg was a 2-2 draw at La Bombonera. The atmosphere was incredible as expected, but passed off without incident off the pitch. So far so good. River looked the better side but with away goals counting for nothing more in the Libertadores final, there was a good chance Boca could go to El Monumental and win. River too were justifiably confident.
The match never happened. River fans had congregated outside the bars near El Monumental before the game drinking beer and fernet. The Boca team bus, surprisingly, took an unusual route to the stadium, passing through thousands of River fans drinking and revving up to the match. Upon sight of the bus, the River fans lost it and started to throw beer bottles and rocks, smashing the windows. The police launched tear gas to restore order and this got inside the bus. Some Boca players were injured by shards of glass and were feeling the effects of the tear gas. When they reached the stadium they confirmed they were unable to play.
The fallout went on for days. The match was cancelled with the stadium almost full as a rescheduled match was talked about. Fans left relatively peacefully, although there were instances of violence throughout Belgrano and neighbouring NÃºÃ±ez. Boca wanted River thrown out the competition as they were in similar circumstances in 2015. Some conspiracy theories abounded as they always do in Argentina. One suggestion was that the Boca bus deliberately drove past the River fans to provoke a reaction, causing what had taken place to occur so that Boca could try and get River thrown out, The police had sanctioned the strange route to the stadium so it was suggested that this was a conspiracy right from the top. The president of Argentina was now Macri, Boca’s former president.
It was finally decided to hold the second leg in Madrid. The fans were unhappy as although Madrid has the largest Argentine population outside of the nation, the costs involved at such short notice was surely beyond the average fan. As the Argentine economic crisis hurtled closer to bankruptcy, times were tough for the average Argentine. It almost seemed to be the case that as the economic situation got worse so did behaviour at football matches. A disgruntled, long-suffering but passionate society being reflected in the behaviour of fans. River fans were angry. They were denied possible victory in their biggest ever match in their stadium. Boca fans were also aggrieved denied the chance to win it in River’s backyard so they could rub it in.
In the build-up to the re-arranged match, reports were coming in of prominent barra bravas being turned away at the airport as the Spanish authorities launched a military-style operation to ensure there was no trouble at the fixture. As I settled down to watch the game, I sent another message to my friend “How are things there? Are you watching the match?” She replied informing me that she was in a bar near the BernabÃ©u. I sent her a reply asking if she could see if she could grab me a Boca shirt or bucket hat from one of the stalls. This is what I got back “Sorry but I couldn’t get you anything. The police wouldn’t let me past at first. They said only if you have a ticket. I explained I just wanted to get something from a stall for a friend that is a Boca fan. He let me through but only if he came with me. I told him that I am a Real Madrid fan and have been here many times but have never seen anything like this. He said it was necessary and that the fans were crazy and would kill for the win, do anything. I got to the stall but everything was sold out. It has been sold out for hours. The noise was so loud. I am sure the stadium was shaking.”
During the match, DarÃo Benedetto made amends for his late miss in Buenos Aires by giving Boca the lead in the first half. He then proceeded to poke his tongue out at a River player in celebration. Lucas Pratto equalised for River on 67 minutes. The game went to extra time and WÃlmar Barrios was sent off for a silly challenge at the start. This was the point where the Libertadores was lost for Boca. Quintero scored with a wonderful strike for River and the tie was all but over. Boca was desperate for an equaliser in injury time but with the goalkeeper up, River cleared and ran the pitch to put the ball in the empty net right in front of the Boca fans.
So the SuperclÃ¡sico to end all SuperclÃ¡sico’s belonged to River. It was felt that this was the game where the rivalry would be defined forever. Whoever won could brag about it with no reply and the loser would never recover. Things are rarely that simple. Boca fans point to the fact that following Independiente’s relegation in 2013 they are the only club in Argentina never to be relegated. In their view, the year in the B for River is more humiliating than their Libertadores defeat. River will point to when it came to the biggest match on the biggest stage they were no chickens. After the Libertadores win a coffin was held by River barra bravas announcing the end of Boca in a mock funeral. They could also take pride in the fact they have won the most Argentine league titles. Boca, of course, like to point to their superior record in the Libertadores with seven to River’s four and their superior head to head record of 89 wins to River’s 83 in all competitions.
River once again reached the final of the Libertadores in 2019 defeating Boca in the semi. They faced Flamengo of Brazil and led 1-0 going into injury time where Flamengo snatched the match with two late goals. River had dominated the final only to throw it away in echoes of 1966. A Boca supporting friend of mine sent me a message that consisted of 20 emojis of chickens. The accusation rumbles on.
Before Covid-19 brought the football world to a standstill there was one last footnote to the story. River had led the 2019-20 Primera DivisiÃ³n table going into the closing stages and looked like cruising to the title. After previously prioritising the Libertadores this was the prize River wanted. After some disappointing results for River, Boca had cut their lead at the top. Both faced teams with nothing to play for, River went to AtlÃ©tico TucumÃ¡n and Boca played at home against Gimnasia coached by a certain Diego Armando Maradona. Boca needed to better River’s result.
The atmosphere at La Bombonera was electric. Maradona was presented on the pitch pre-match and entered the arena to a rapturous welcome. He flapped his arms up and down to intimate a chicken to huge roars. Some felt aggrieved at this as his team was expected to try their utmost to give Boca a game considering what was at stake. To blatantly show his disdain for River who was also gunning for the title led to suspicion. Those fears were perhaps allayed as his Gimnansia team gave Boca a good game.
The news came through that TucumÃ¡n had taken the lead against River and La Bombonera exploded. River equalised and Boca still needed the win. It came through none other than Carlos Tevez who scored on 72 minutes. The shot was powerful but the goalkeeping suspect. River drew and Boca held on. Marcelo Gallardo congratulated Boca and said they won fair and square. Some River fans pointed accusingly at Maradona and his team claiming that they allowed Boca the win. As an aside, the coach of TucumÃ¡n was none other than Ricardo Zielinski, the man who took River down to the B.
For over 100 years the two teams that were born in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires have battled both on and off the pitch with almost 80% of football fans in the country now claiming to support one or the other. Boca claims that they are supported by ‘la mitad mÃ¡s uno’ – half the country plus one. River claims ‘el paÃs menos algunos’ – the whole of the country except for a few. One thing is for sure, the story of El SuperclÃ¡sicowill rumble on and on.
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