Thursday, June 30, 2022

SPORTS | 05-03-2020 23:21

All or nothing for River and Boca in final day Superliga showdown

Fans of two Buenos Aires giants will be glued to screen this Saturday as two sides face crucial matches, with River ahead by one point. One side will be the champions come full-time - but which one will it be?

One of Argentina's two most storied clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, will be crowned league champions this weekend, as the Argentine Superliga enters its final weekend.

The Millo, led by title-winning coach Marcelo Gallardo, are the favourites – they carry a slim one-point advantage over their arch-rivals heading into this weekend's fixtures. River sit at the top of the table on 46 points, while Boca trail behind on 45. 

Before the summer break, Argentinos Junior were the league-leaders, followed by Boca, Lanús and Vélez. River were down in fifth, but since the restart, they stormed into a purple patch, winning a host of matches before drawing with Defensa y Justicia at home last weekend.

Boca, led by Miguel Ángel Russo, will be hoping River slip up in their game up north against Atlético Tucumán. The Xeneize, meanwhile, will face an emotional reunion with ex-club legend and Argentine superstar Diego Maradona, whose Gimnasia side will pitch up at the Bombonera on Saturday.

For River, a title crown would be the icing on the cake for Gallardo, whose six years in charge has seen the Millo pick up 11 titles, including seven at an international level. However, the league has remained elusive, with the last title for the Nuñez side dating back to 2014's Clausura, when Ramón Díaz was head coach.

Nerves will be felt, however. That 1-1 draw at home to Defensa y Justicia last week allowed Boca to gain ground, cutting River's lead to just one point thanks to a 4-0 win over Santa Fe's Colón.

Eyes will be glued to two screens if possible on Saturday as River travel north, secure in the knowledge that a victory will hand them the title. A draw or defeat will open the door for Boca, who desperately need a win to keep their title dreams alive.

Their match won't be easy however – Maradona is known to be angered by the club's leadership, specifically President Jorge Ameal and Second Vice-President Juan Román Riquelme, another famous former number 10.

"Of course we are going to look to win at the Bombonera, I am the Gimnasia coach," snapped Maradona, who despite his fanaticism for Boca needs the three points if his team are going to avoid relegation.

Either way, one side's fans will be celebrating at the Obelisk on Saturday night.

Both games kick off 9pm this Saturday.


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