The Supercopa Argentina might be a glorified Community Shield but that doesn’t matter in Argentina as Boca Juniors defeated Rosario Central on penalties to lift the title on Thursday evening to rapturous celebration.
Superliga champions from the 2017-18 season, Boca, were up against 2018 Copa Argentina winners Rosario Central in Mendoza and for Boca, who had suffered defeat in all three previous Supercopa appearances, it was an opportunity to add a new trophy to the club’s collection.
Central’s struggles both in the league and in the Copa Libertadores made Boca understandably firm favourites but it still made for a nervy encounter in which Boca struggled to find a way through Diego Cocca’s resolute side.
For all of Boca’s underlying threat during the opening 45 minutes it didn’t convert into clear chances and it was in fact Esteban Andrada forced into the best save of the half when stretching at full length to keep Rodrigo Villagra’s fierce long range effort out.
Almost inevitably Boca’s pressure increased after the break and after Mauro Zárate flashed a free-kick over the crossbar, Central were forced to hang on for the final stages of the game.
Nahitan Nández blazed over after exchanging passes with Zárate and then during a goalmouth scramble, Cristian Pavón smashed a shot off the underside of the bar that even on replay was difficult to tell if it had crossed the line. Darío Benedetto poked the rebound against the post and Nández had a header flicked onto the crossbar as Boca laid siege on the Central goal but frustratingly for Gustavo Alfaro’s side they couldn’t break the deadlock.
Anxious that another Supercopa was slipping away, Boca’s nerves were only amplified with each passing spotkick. Both teams successfully converted their initial five before Fabián Rinaudo stepped up for Central. The midfielder’s effort was pushed up onto the crossbar by a strong Andrade left hand and it was left to Carlos Izquierdoz to slot in Boca’s sixth and seal the title.