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Tevez goal gives Boca Juniors Argentine title on final day

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Boca Juniors leapfrogged rival Buenos Aires club River Plate on the final day of the season to win the Superliga Argentina, with Carlos Tevez providing the title-winning goal.

River Plate came into the day in first place on 46 points, with Boca Juniors a point back at 45. River Plate was wrestled to a 1-1 draw on the road at 14th placed Atletico Tucuman, held scoreless in the second half. That gave Boca a way through, and at home against 19th placed Gimnasia, Carlos Tevez scored the game’s only goal to see the hosts jump River Plate in the standings and win the title.

The goal was an absolute howitzer from the top of the box that Tevez smashed so hard that Gimnasia goalkeeper Jorge Broun got a hand to but still couldn’t keep out. The build-up play was quality as well, with Sebastian Villa shrugging off a physical challenge from a defender and substitute Ramon Abila sliding to deliver the parallel assist.

Boca had been in second since early December, dropping out of the top spot thanks to a three-match winless run. But they finished the season on a six-match winning streak, refusing to concede a single goal for the final five matches of the campaign – a 460-minute goalless streak to help secure the crown. River Plate bagged a five-match winning streak starting with the turn of the calendar year, but ended the season with a pair of 1-1 draws against Defensa and Tucuman.

The title is Boca’s 34th in club history and sees them return to the top slot after a year off, having finished third last season behind title-winners Racing and second-placed Defensa.

The Argentine top-flight features a single round-robin season with its 23-team league that carries through early March, with its Copa de la Superliga to follow and carry the campaign through the end of May. Boca finished second in last year’s Copa, falling to Tigres in the final.

Tevez was also on the field for Manchester City’s final-day title victory when they defeated QPR 3-2 in 2012 on Sergio Aguero’s incredibly late goal.

VIDEO: River edge past Boca to reach Copa Libertadores final

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Boca Juniors scored a late goal to beat bitter rivals River Plate 1-0 at La Bombonera on Tuesday, but River held on to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores with a 2-1 aggregate win.

Jan Hurtado scored the second-leg winner for Boca in the 80th minute to send the home fans wild, but it wasn’t enough as River somehow held on to reach their second-straight Copa Libertadores final.

Amid fireworks, copious amounts of ticker tape and an incredible atmosphere generated by Boca’s supporters at their home in Buenos Aires, to hold on for the aggregate victory was an amazing display of defensive strength from River Plate.

Boca battered River for large swathes of this game, with the home side squandering plenty of chances. Click play on the video below to watch the highlights as River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani was a busy man and came up with the goods.

Of course, the Copa Libertadores final between Boca and River last season was abandoned and then moved to Madrid, Spain over fan unrest as Boca Juniors bus was attacked.

River won the final 3-1 last season and they will face either Flamengo or Gremio in the final in Santiago, Chile on Nov. 23. This season will see the change in format to a one-off final to decide the Champions of CONMEBOL.

The Copa Libertadores winners will represent South America in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

River Plate takes 1st leg advantage over Boca Juniors

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The Superclasico serving as Copa Libertadores semifinal got off to a pro-River Plate start, as Los Millonarios beat Boca Juniors 2-0 in the semifinal first leg on Tuesday.

Rafael Santos Borre converted a 7th minute penalty, and Ignacio “Nacho” Fernandez scored in the 70th minute as River takes a two-goal advantage back across Buenos Aires.

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Fernandez’s goal was the 29-year-old’s first in nine career matches against Boca (He had posted two assists). He had been linked with a move to LA Galaxy earlier this year.

The second leg is Oct. 22 at Boca. The other semifinal kicks off Wednesday, with Gremio hosts Flamengo in an all-Brazil affair.

Rematch: Boca to meet River in Copa Libertadores

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The best rivalry in all of South American soccer will be coming to the Copa Libertadores for the second-straight year.

After last year’s drama on and off the field in the Copa Libertadores final, River Plate’s aggregate win over Cerro Porteno of Paraguay ensured there would be another Superclasico, this time in the Copa Libertadores semifinals. River Plate tied Cerro Porteno, 1-1, on Thursday evening in Paraguay, advancing to the semifinals 3-1 on aggregate. Boca Juniors advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 aggregate win over LDU Quito of Ecuador.

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It’s the first time both teams will be playing each other in an official match since last December’s Copa Libertadores final.

Last year’s Copa Libertadores final, which was being used by the Argentine football authorities to prove that they could host a future Copa America or World Cup, was a spectacular disaster, at least regarding security.

The first leg had to be delayed 24 hours due to torrential rain, and then ended up being a wild, 2-2 affair at Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera Stadium. The second leg was initially postponed one day, then two after Boca Juniors’ bus was attacked by River Plate fans on its way to the stadium, injuring some players and making the game a complete farce. Somehow a CONMEBOL doctor decided the players were good enough to play, even though one suffered temporary optical damage.

Eventually, CONMEBOL came to the conclusion that the game couldn’t be forfeited, but also couldn’t be played in Buenos Aires. A decision was made to move the game to Madrid, where security was in place, there were no issues, and the game finished with River Plate winning after extra time. Even prior to the final, CONMEBOL had announced that it was getting rid of the traditional two-legged finals in place of one in a neutral setting.

All of that is the backdrop to the next Superclasico this year. Suddenly, it’s yet another two-legged affair to take place in Buenos Aires, though perhaps Argentina’s security apparatus can take this opportunity to learn from last year’s mistakes. The first leg is scheduled for October 1 at River Plate’s Estadio Monumental, before returning to La Bombonera on October 22 for the second leg.

De Rossi scores debut goal but Boca Juniors upset in Copa Argentina

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Daniele De Rossi played his first match in colors other than Roma yellow and red, and while he bagged a goal on debut, he was powerless to prevent an embarrassing Copa Argentina loss as Boca Juniors was upset by second tier side Almagro on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Just before the half-hour mark, a corner delivery found the head of De Rossi and he had a signature moment in South America. His close-range effort proved Boca’s only meaningful contribution of the night, but it produced an enormous smile across the face of the bearded Italian before he was engulfed by teammates and appeared somewhat emotional.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVEHjy3ANv4&feature=player_embedded

Sadly for the Argentine giants, they looked poor overall, and once De Rossi exited the pitch in the 72nd minute, he could only watch from the sidelines as 33-year-old former Real Salt Lake winger Juan Manuel Martinez equalized in the 82nd minute, sending the match to penalties. Boca Juniors was abysmal in the penalty shootout, and while Carlos Tevez scored the first effort, they missed their next three and the Primera Nacional side advanced to the Round of 16.

The result is bad news for new manager Gustavo Alfaro who only took over in January and is tasked with defending the club’s Copa Libertadores title. The quarterfinals of this year’s competition is just around the corner, and the squad must pick itself up quickly in the absence of recently departed Dario Benedetto and Nahitan Nandez who both bolted for European clubs this transfer window.