There has been very contrasting atmospheres around River Plate and Boca Juniors since last Tuesday’s Superclásico in the Copa Libertadores and while Boca might still be licking their wounds from defeat in the Monumental, both sides returned to Superliga duty with victories on Sunday.
Unbeaten Boca went three points clear at the top with another narrow 1-0 win, this time over Defensa y Justicia while River ended their run of three home games in the league without victory by seeing off Aldosivi.
It was far from a vintage display from Boca but just as Gustavo Alfaro’s side have done on a number of occasions already this season, they struck early and kept the clean sheet to see out the win.
The decisive moment came inside 20 minutes when Defensa y Justicia erred in the their attempt to play out from the back. Jan Hurtado won possession high up the pitch and the ball was eventually worked into the path of Agustín Almendra, who drilled it low past Ezequiel Unsain.
Unable to find a second, Boca had to remain alert as the home side saw plenty of possession. Lisandro López was forced to clear the ball from close to the goal line after Alexis Castro had clipped it over goalkeeper Esteban Andrada and Defensa y Justicia continued to pose a threat.
Having conceded their first goal of the season last week, Boca should have given up a second during the second half as an unmarked Fernando Márquez headed over from yards out but even after seeing Julio Buffarini sent off late on, the league leaders held.
River Plate also didn’t have things all their own way and needed a quick-fire Rafael Santos Borré brace to get past Aldosivi.
Selecting the same side that deservedly beat Boca during the week, Marcelo Gallardo, like all those back at the Monumental, was demanding victory. Yet despite dominating possession, River struggled to find the breakthrough.
It wasn’t until a marginally offside Matías Suárez cut the ball back for Santos Borré to fire in the opener that the result looked certain. While the opener owed a little to good fortune, the second that swiftly followed was simply brilliant. A flowing, passing move that began all the way back with Franco Armani gathered pace and after a couple of deft touches, Santos Borré was firing in his second.
The goal put the game beyond the reach of a game but inferior Patronato and with victory, River went third.