While many were still debating Boca Juniors’ apparent failures after the Copa Libertadores semi-final defeat, the Xeneizes lifted title number 70 on Sunday night following up March’s league title with the Copa Diego Maradona crown. Banfield were worthy opponents in San Juan and forced a penalty shootout but Boca were perfect from the spot to lift the trophy.
A first half that lacked quality in the final third saw both sides go close with speculative shots rather than through any moments of genuine creative quality. Martín Payero flashed a shot over the crossbar at one end and Sebastían Villa drilled one inches wide of the far post but neither had imposed themselves on the game.
It wasn’t the performance to silence Boca’s critics though supporters would rightly have argued the title was all important. The inquest and required changes will follow in time.
What Boca do still have is individuals capable of brilliance and just after the hour mark they got that. Edwin Cardona, left out of the starting eleven against Santos, cut in off the left and released a right-foot rocket that left Mauricio Arboleda helpless.
For all of Banfield’s threat earlier in the tournament that had yet to really test Esteban Andrada.
With ten minutes remaining Emmanuel Mas picked up his second yellow card to reduce Boca to ten and when Diego Rodríguez hit the turf clutching his knee in pain, Miguel Ángel Russo’s side would need to see out the remaining moments of stoppage time with nine.
They appeared to have done it until a final ball into the cross was kept alive and Luciano Lollo managed to divert a header inside Andrada’s far post.
Conceding with the last kick of the game it would have been easy for Boca to fold in the ensuing shootout yet the hunger for another title was clear. The league champions were unerring and after Jorge Rodríguez hit the crossbar for Banfield it was left to Julio Buffarini to roll in the winner.
A league and cup double is not to be sniffed at and Boca remain the team to beat domestically. The task now for Juan Román Riquelme and those upstairs at La Bombonera is to assemble a squad capable of capturing that elusive seventh Libertadores title.