Daniele de Rossi finally pulled on the blue and gold of Boca Juniors since his sensational transfer yet despite the Italian marking the occasion with a goal, the World Cup winner couldn’t prevent the Buenos Aires giants suffering a humiliating cup exit at the hands of Primera Nacional side Almagro.
The moment everyone had been waiting for came on a cold evening in La Plata and for 76 minutes before his substitution, things were at least going to plan for Daniele de Rossi more or less.
Boca were far from their best but the Italian midfielder heading in from a corner just before the half hour mark was a wonderful introduction to Argentinian football and looked as though it would be enough to send Gustavo Alfaro’s side through to the next round of the Copa Argentina.
Ahead of the Copa Libertadores quarter-final, Boca were worryingly poor after the lead and following the departures of Nahitan Nández and Darío Benedetto, the lack of cuttting edge in attack and the imbalance in midfield will be a concern ahead of a difficult trip to Quito next week.
Unable to find a way to kill off Almagro, Boca were punished eight minutes from time. A hopeful long punt upfield was woefully defended by Junior Alonso and as Agustín Coscia dashed in behind the youngster’s touch around the stranded Marcos Díaz allowed former Boca forward Juan Manuel Martínez to roll the ball into an empty net.
With the tie going straight to penalties Boca had a lifeline to avoid embarrassment and while De Rossi had already been substituted, three other new signings all failed from the spot.
Carlos Tevez had ensured Boca made a positive start to the shootout but Almagro stayed calm and when goalkeeper Christian Limousin saved from Alexis Mac Allister and Jan Hurtado, the second tier edged closer to a famous win.
Three successful penalties put Almagro on the brink and when Eduardo Salvio blazed over, victory was sealed.
Almagro will play either Talleres or Banfield in the last 16 and the prospect of a Superclásico semi-final in the Copa Argentina is now off the agenda but Boca must improve quickly if they are not to see a potential meeting with River Plate in the Libertadores also slip away.