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.
Carlos Tevez, the wonderful yet enigmatic Argentine striker, had put West Ham in a position to survive for another Premier League season at the end of the 2006-2007 season.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
After scoring his first Premier League goal for West Ham on March 4 against Tottenham, Tevez reeled off five more goals in West Ham’s next nine games, which coincided with six wins to bring West Ham into safety. Heading into the final game of the season at Man United, West Ham only needed a draw against the eventual champions.
But what if West Ham collapsed at Old Trafford, and went down? What would it have done for both West Ham, and Tevez’s career?
Of course, we know that’s not what happened. Tevez scored just before halftime in one of his brilliant, me-against-the-world dribbles through five defenders and West Ham went on to win to secure safety.
Watch the latest episode of Crossroads above and check out all the previous episodes here.
Boca Juniors have requested that the second leg of the Copa Libertadores Final be postponed again following Saturday’s chaotic day at El Monumental.
UPDATE: Boca’s request has been granted.
Originally scheduled for Saturday, the match was delayed a few hours and eventually postponed to Sunday after River Plate fans attacked the Boca bus with tear gas, smashing windows which lead to a trip to the hospital for captain Pablo Perez.
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Glass was removed from Perez’s eye and face, and Carlos Tevez was among the players reportedly willing to forfeit rather than play on Sunday as several players took ill.
Here’s how Perez described his injury, via BeINSports.com:
“I’m feeling hurt,” he said. “This was supposed to be a party and it seemed more like a war. I’ve got an irked eye. They told me I have some injured spots in my eye. That could be caused by the glass splinters they got out from there.”
Yeah, we guess it could be caused by that!
Boca’s request for further postponement, presumably to a neutral venue, was made to CONMEBOL, noting the hostile atmosphere at the stadium and the potential for more fan violence.
The neutral venue seems remarkably unlikely given the first leg was played at Boca’s home, but the restoration of “equal terms” would make sense. Boca’s players simply are not as healthy as they were before the events.
FIFPro is backing Boca.
The game, tied at 2 after the first leg, is expected to kick off at 3 p.m. ET.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been on the scene for all decisions.
Common sense has prevailed after a chaotic day in Argentina, where the second leg of the Copa Libertadores between longtime rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate has been postponed.
A group of River Plate fans attacked the Boca Juniors team bus en route to the match, and several Boca players needed medical treatment after tear gas invaded the vehicle.
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Boca’s Pablo Perez needed medical treatment after getting glass in his eye, while several others were left sick to their stomach, and the match was initially postponed just a few hours.
Boca star Carlos Tevez admitted he could not believe the team would be forced to play, but planned on taking the field.
Reports claimed FIFA head Gianni Infantini told Boca it would forfeit the match if it did not take the field, but River did not want to play, either.
You can appreciate that the organizers would’ve feared what may happen outside the stadium if the match was suspended, but it also may’ve served to amplify the danger inside the venue as well.
The first leg was also suspended because of poor field conditions following a rain storm, and finished 2-2.
The final has now been set for 3 p.m. ET Sunday.
The entire day has been a black eye for FIFA and CONMEBOL, and every eye will be trained on how both organizations deal with Sunday’s events around and inside the stadium.
A number of Boca Juniors players have been reportedly exposed to tear gas after River Plate fans attacked the team bus as it arrived for the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between the legendary rivals.
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The match was scheduled to kickoff at 3 p.m. ET, with Boca and River square at 2 after one leg, but now it has been delayed several hours (though there’s precedence to suggest that River may have to forfeit).
From The Independent:
South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) officials are currently meeting to discuss whether or not the final should go ahead, after reports that a number of Boca players – including Carlos Tevez – were taken unwell in the club’s dressing room following the attack.
CONMEBOL announced the final would be delayed three hours, though some reports say multiple Boca players have been transported to hospital.
If the match is not suspended, it would be stunning, but CONMEBOL is apparently insisting that the match must be staged on Saturday.
Footage before the match showed an adult strapping flares under the shirt of a child.