A clash between Boca Juniors and River Plate, whether it be the youth sides or a friendly, is a big deal but when the two giants meet on Sunday afternoon in the 243rd official meeting, there is far more than just bragging rights at stake.
After drawing three of their last four matches, Boca have seen their lead at the top of the table cut and while their immediate competition have failed to take full advantage, River Plate have quietly fought their way back into the mix.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side have dropped only two points from their last seven matches and having looked out of the title race when the league took its summer break, Los Millonarios are now perhaps Boca’s greatest threat. Still with a game in hand, if River were to win in La Bombonera, momentum may swing in their favour.
Carlos Tevez shone when the two sides last met back in December and at the time Boca had the look of champions when winning a surprisingly entertaining superclásico in the Monumental.
However, much has changed since then and aside from the departure of Tevez, while Boca have dipped in form, River have gone from strength to strength.
December’s meeting was a welcome departure from superclásicos of recent years that have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Dull, goalless draws, red cards galore and a pepper-spray attack that caused their Copa Libertadores meeting to be abandoned, the hope for Sunday is that it’s only the action on the pitch that creates the talking points.
The last time that River won in La Bombonera was 2014 when goals from Manuel Lanzini and Ramiro Funes Mori ended a ten-year wait for victory on enemy soil and it pushed Ramón Díaz’s side to the Primera title.
Marcelo Gallardo has achieved great success since taking over from Díaz but is yet to lift a league title – a repeat victory on Sunday and Los Millonarios might just be favourites to rectify that.