The Libertadores Final Was Supposed To Be Lit, But That Was Something Else Entirely
Get the best email in soccer.
There was no 42-pass team goal, but compared to today’s Manchester derby at the Etihad, the Boca Juniors-River Plate Copa Libertadores final seemed like it was being played on another planet entirely. La Bombonera was rocking for this historic Superclásico after Saturday’s scheduled kick-off was pushed back a day due to torrential rain, and although the pitch was certainly still feeling the effects of yesterday’s downpour, the action in the stands and out on the pitch was truly superb.
Here’s a selection of #SCENES from the first leg in Buenos Aires.
Postales de una tarde INOLVIDABLE en La Bombonera pic.twitter.com/BpQrSu5XfE— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@Libertadores) November 11, 2018
¡La Bombonera ya está lista para el superclásico! pic.twitter.com/hqgFSAse68— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@Libertadores) November 11, 2018
— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) November 11, 2018
And the River Plate supporters outside El Monumental — the site of the second leg on Nov. 24 — were putting on a show of their own.
La gran final de ida se juega en la Bombonera, pero el Monumental también está lleno.Todo eso genera la #CONMEBOLLibertadores.
— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@Libertadores) November 11, 2018
The action began with Cristian Pavon needing an early substitution. The striker wasn’t happy about going down with a bit of hamstring twang.
This is what it meansCristian Pavon leaves the pitch in tears after picking up an injury in the #Superclasico pic.twitter.com/6B15teO0RO
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 11, 2018
However, in the 34th minute, Boca took the lead through Ramon Abila. His initial shot was saved, but he stormed home the rebound to send the stadium into raptures.
River Plate’s response was immediate. Directly following the restart, Lucas Pratto equalized. (The away goals rule is not at play in the Libertadores final.)
But just before halftime, Pavon’s substitute, Dario Benedetto, restored Boca’s lead.
The Bombonera was pleased with that one.
In the 61st minute, River Plate again found an equalizer after Carlos Izquierdoz was forced into an unfortunate own goal off a set piece.
34-year-old Carlos Tevez then entered the fray in the 73rd minute.
Tevez almost setup Benedetto for a late winner, but Franco Armani pulled off a huge save to keep things at 2-2.
Gracious me, that was something. Let’s do it all again on Saturday, Nov. 24, at El Monumental. The home side will be slight favorites, but again, the away goals rule does not apply, so things are on a knife-edge.