Boca Juniors ended the run of eight superclásicos without a win last night in Mar del Plata thanks to Franco Cristaldo’s first half goal. As expected from a friendly so early in the summer it never quite clicked into gear but there was still enough aggression to yield three red cards.
At the best of times, the summer friendlies between Boca Juniors and River Plate are simply a money spinning opportunity for both clubs which somewhat cheapens the event. However, this year it has not even provided an early opportunity for both teams to put out full strength line-ups as Boca have a Libertadores place decider against Vélez on Wednesday. With that in mind, Rodolfo Arruabarrena named an entirely second string eleven and lining up against a full strength River side, complete with Matías Kranevitter in midfield it appeared as though it would be another victory for Gallardo and his side.
In truth, River should have been playing against ten men far earlier after Emmanuel Gigliotti wildly attempted to cut out Marcelo Barovero’s clearance. The two-footed challenge that left Barovero in a heap only received a yellow card but on any other day would probably have seen red. For a side that had two men sent off early against Racing, Boca showed no signs of reserve.
After that let off, Boca found themselves in front. Pablo Pérez did well to fashion the chance for Franco Cristaldo inside the box and his low shot had just enough on it to sneak past Barovero into the corner.
After the break, River dominated but failed to ever really cut Boca open. Momentarily, River did have a numerical advantage after Andrés Cubas was shown a second yellow card but it was not long before Leonel Vangioni was also sent off to level things up. With River unable to breakthrough, Jonatan Maidana lost his cool and was also given his marching orders and Boca held on to a morale boosting victory.
Boca have much more important matters to occupy themselves with this week and River certainly have several more gears to click into before the start of the season.