The Superclásico may have been absent from the 2020 calendar but January’s fixture is already shaping up nicely. The traditional summer ‘friendly’ will make way for a Copa Diego Maradona clash which may well decide which side qualify for the final after the two Copa Libertadores hopefuls picked up three points on Sunday.
Ahead of a huge Libertadores quarter final second leg against Racing Club on Wednesday Boca rested several key players for the trip to Independiente but needed to call on a number from the bench to come from behind and snatch a win.
Silvio Romero had headed Independiente in front and though El Rojo were poor manager Lucas Pusineri will look back on missed opportunities. Andrés Roa saw a first half penalty saved by Agustín Rossi and missed the target when one-on-one with the goalkeeper just after the break.
From that point it was all Boca. Sebastián Villa, Edwin Cardona and Eduardo Salvio were introduced and eight minutes from time a Cardona free-kick was headed in by Franco Soldano.
Only one team looked likely to win it and in injury time Villa found Cardona in space outside the box and the midfielder produced a superb curling shot inside Sebastián Sosa’s far post.
Boca now sit level at the top of Group A with Argentinos Juniors, who won on Friday, and River Plate after Marcelo Gallardo’s side defeated Huracán.
Unchanged from the team that thrashed Nacional in the Copa Libertadores last week River started brightly at the Estadio Adolfo Ducó and led when Matías Suárez turned in from close range.
Two quickly became one as Nicolás De La Cruz’s inswinging cross from the left eluded everyone and nestled inside the far post.
Denied a strong penalty shout for a handball against Leonardo Ponzio, things were soon balanced up when Huracán were awarded a spot kick for Paulo Díaz’s challenge on Norberto Briasco. Former Boca striker Andrés Chávez made no mistake and having reduced the deficit set up a nervy spell in the game for River.
That was until the impressive De La Cruz smashed in a third for River. There was still time for Paulo Díaz to receive his marching orders from the erratic Germán Delfino but it made no difference to the result.
In the Fase Complementacion, Racing Club took the opportunity to rest their first eleven and the second string earned a point away to Estudiantes.
Augusto Solari slotted Racing in front and given Estudiantes’ record of not scoring in the seven games prior it looked like it could be enough. However Leandro Díaz looped a header over Gastón Gómez to earn El Pincha a draw.
While in Group A, Lanús and Defensa y Justicia also played out a 1-1 draw. The two sides may well meet in the Copa Sudamericana final next month and there was little between their largely reserve elevens.
Defender Nicolás Thaller put the home side ahead but Miguel Merentiel slotted a deserved equaliser for Defensa y Justicia.