Boca Juniors’ title hopes were dealt a blow from Sunday’s superclásico as River Plate secured a thrilling 3-1 victory in La Bombonera to close within four points of their rivals with a game still in hand.
A victory for Boca would have put Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side six points clear but goals from River’s impressive trio of Gonzalo Martínez, Lucas Alario and Sebastián Driussi have fired Los Millonarios up to third.
Driussi could already have put River ahead by the time Martínez sensationally volleyed the visitors ahead. Boca’s exposed defence were repeatedly threatened and after quarter of an hour breached when Jorge Moreira’s deep cross was caught sweetly by the left boot of Martínez.
River were rampant and shortly after the opener, Martínez found Lucas Alario in acres of space for the 24-year-old to double the lead.
With Ricardo Centurión having limped off early, Boca’s attack floundered and it was difficult to see how the league leaders would find a way back into the game. However, in stoppage time a Fernando Gago free kick was badly misjudged by Augusto Batalla and floated over a crowded penalty area and into the net.
Boca hadn’t deserved such a break but appeared rejuvenated after half time and twice went close to an equaliser through the usually deadly Darío Benedetto.
As Barros Schelotto threw players forward to salvage something, Batalla made a superb double save and a minute later, River countered allowing Sebastián Driussi to slot in his 15th goal of the season.
The last time River won in La Bombonera was in 2014 when Ramón Díaz’s side went onto lift the title and while Gallardo’s class of 2017 still have plenty to do, you wouldn’t bet against it now.