While Grêmio still argue with CONMEBOL over River Plate’s progress to the Copa Libertadores final, the rest of the world were already preparing for a Superclásico and Boca Juniors didn’t disappoint on Wednesday with victory over Palmeiras.
Boca’s 2-2 draw in São Paulo was enough to complete a 4-2 aggregate win and for the first time ever two Argentine clubs will meet in the Copa Libertadores final. And not just any two, Boca Juniors and River Plate – the biggest derby in world football – the Superclásico on the biggest stage in South America.
Darío Benedetto’s late brace one week ago in La Bombonera had put Boca firmly in the driving seat and after surviving an early VAR disallowed goal in the Allianz Parque, Ramón Ábila tapped Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side in front.
Palmeiras, left needing four goals meant the tie looked all but over but for ten or so second half minutes, Boca were rattled. Luan volleyed one back and on the hour mark, Gustavo Gómez converted from the spot after Carlos Izquierdoz clumsily conceded a penalty.
Suddenly the comeback was on. That was until Darío Benedetto came off the bench once again.
Collecting the ball in a pocket of space outside the box, Benedetto needed no hesitation in drilling the ball into the bottom pocket just as he did one week earlier and with it the striker extinguished Palmeiras’ hopes.
Boca saw out the remaining 20 minutes with relative ease and now Buenos Aires braces itself for the mother of all Superclásicos. A fixture that grinds the city to a halt even for preseason friendlies will now host two matches of epic proportion and the ultimate prize is up for grabs.
The dates are subject to change but the first leg of the final is scheduled to take place next Wednesday at La Bombonera before the return fixture at El Monumental on November 28th.