Boca Juniors sealed its second trophy in four days as it added the Copa Argentina to its securing of the league title on Sunday, beating Rosario Central 2-0 in a final filled with controversy, as referee Diego Ceballos had a terrible evening in the Mario Alberto Kempes stadium in Córdoba, wrongly awarding Boca a penalty that was converted by Uruguayan midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro before failing to spot Andrés Chávez was in an offside position as he scored a late second goal.
Boca and Central have been the best two teams for the majority of the 2015 season, and the clash had been eagerly anticipated, although heavy rain had left the pitch in not the greatest condition, which didn’t help the game. If anything, Central started as the better team before Boca started to find its feet, and Central defender Javier Pinola must have breathed a huge sigh of relief after his sliced clearance looped over his own goal.
Seven minutes before the break, Central was celebrating after striker Marco Ruben rose highest to head in a Franco Cervi free kick, but as Ruben wheeled away, his celebrations were cruelly cut short as he saw the linesman’s flag raised to indicate offside. While Ruben had run from deep and could not possibly have been offside, fellow striker Marcelo Larrondo was marginally offside, and I mean marginally, and was deemed to be interfering with the play, hence the goal was overturned. After much viewing of replays, that decision looks the correct one, although Boca couldn’t have had any complaints had the goal stood. However, it all got a bit too much for Central coach Eduardo Coudet, and he was sent off to the stands for his protestations.
If Coudet was angry then, nine minutes after halftime he would have been absolutely livid, after Central left back Paulo Ferrari pulled down Boca right back Gino Peruzzi some distance outside the box but after Peruzzi’s momentum meant he landed just inside, the referee inexplicably pointed to the spot. Lodeiro made no mistake from the spot, sending Central’s cup keeper Manuel García the wrong way.
— Eameo (@EameoOk) November 5, 2015
Central responded well, and Boca needed a fantastic save from goalkeeper Agustín Orión after another bullet Ruben header to keep them in the game. Boca then sat deeper and allowed Central to have more of the ball, although Central struggled to create many more chances.
Boca was set up perfectly for the counterattack as Central committed more men forward, and substitute Rodrigo Bentancur had a fantastic chance to ease Boca nerves with four minutes to go, but he fluffed his lines and the ball went out for a goal kick. That didn’t matter though, as with one minute of normal time to go, Marcelo Meli crossed the ball to Andrés Chávez for a tap in, although Chávez was clearly offside and the goal shouldn’t have stood.
As if there hadn’t been enough drama in the game, Pinola was (correctly) sent off in injury time for a second yellow card, allowing his frustration at the injustice to boil over.
Esta Copa es para los socios. pic.twitter.com/bMViDm3IUO
— Un Metro Adelantado (@1mtrA) November 5, 2015
After the game, Ceballos admitted that giving the penalty was “the biggest mistake of his career,” and apologized. Whether he was asking for forgiveness for his refereeing display or crimes against fashion after wearing an offensively garish shade of orange for 90 minutes, we aren’t sure, but we do know that his apology won’t serve as any consolation to Central, who lost its second Copa Argentina final in a row after losing last year’s version on penalties to then-second division club Huracán.