Regardless of whether events on the pitch fail to live up to expectations the superclásico remains the biggest event in Argentine football. One hundred and three years of history, 239 official meetings and a hell of a lot of dislike stand between River Plate and Boca Juniors – on Sunday the rivalry is reacquainted.
For Marcelo Gallardo and River Plate had this been any other fixture, it would have been a reserve side trotting out onto the Monumental pitch ahead of a vital Copa Argentina final next Thursday. However, derby day doesn’t afford Gallardo that luxury and instead Los Millonarios will do everything in their power to prevent their fierce rivals continuing their march towards the top of the league.
Boca Juniors have begun to click after a slow start and having undone their nine-month away day hoodoo, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side are unbeaten since the opening weekend. Last weekend’s victory over Racing highlighted what they have missed in the absence of Fernando Gago and they are now just two points behind league leaders Estudiantes.
But it doesn’t matter how well either side is playing, it’s the superclásico and all that goes out the window. After two dire goalless draws, this latest chapter will hopefully provide more than just noise, colour and passion from the stands. Boca arrive as the Primera’s leading scorers and River had the league’s in-form and top scorer in Sebastián Driussi. Fingers crossed, the match lives up to its billing for once.
River Plate starting XI: Augusto Batalla; Jorge Moreira, Jonathan Maidana, Arturo Mina, Luis Olivera; Nacho Fernández, Leonardo Ponzio; Andrés D’Alessandro, Gonzalo Martínez; Lucas Alario, Sebastián Driussi
Boca Juniors starting XI: Axel Werner; Gino Peruzzi, Santiago Vergini, Juan Insaurralde, Frank Fabra; Pablo Pérez, Fernando Gago, Rodrigo Bentancur; Carlos Tevez; Cristián Pavón, Walter Bou
Or it should be available on YouTube here….