If there was ever a day to be glue yourself to the television and shut the world out for a few hours, Sunday was exactly that. With three clásicos on show, there were golazos galore and a whole lot more:
River put three past Boca to heat up title race
Sunday’s big fixture pitted first-placed Boca Juniors against title-chasing River Plate in the all-dividing Superclásico, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
River started the stronger of the two sides and an early injury to Boca playmaker Ricky Centurion – who was back from injury just in time for the game – was the first sign that it wasn’t to be the xeneize’s day. He hobbled off after 16 minutes – just two minutes after River’s very own golden boy Pity Martinez connected with Jorge Moreira’s looping cross to put a wicked volley past Boca keeper Rossi.
— Ángel Herrera (@AngelHerreran) May 14, 2017
The visitors continued to press the home side throughout the first-half, continuously finding space in an increasingly disjointed Boca defence – one they took full advantage of on 25′, when striker Lucas Alario found himself clear and put the ball – rather tamely – past Rossi to double River’s lead.
Boca continued on the backfoot for much of the remainder of the half, until captain Fernando Gago’s flukey, albeit spectacular stoppage-time effort found its way over and above goalkeeper Augusto Batalla and into the back of the net.
Gol de tiro libre de Gago en el superclasico vs River. pic.twitter.com/LCmkebdaqU
— Fútbol ?? (@AllSoccerNewsOK) May 14, 2017
The goal came at the best possible time for Boca, and it was clear manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto had provided a thorough dressing down of his players as their intensity was visibly improved as the second-half went on.
Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentacur was at the heart of that intensity going forward, linking nicely in midfield to give life to his side and hope to the Bombonera faithful. Chances came and went, but a crucial equalizer never came – thanks largely to River’s keeper, who redeemed himself for his part in Boca’s goal by pulling off a number of saves as striker Dario Benedetto and co beared down on his goal.
— Lucian (@CipayoIT) May 14, 2017
With minutes to spare, Boca piled forward and ultimately left themselves vulnerable (although they had been throughout) at the back, and a defensive mix-up left the highly-coveted Sebastian Driussi in on goal to tuck away River’s third – his fifteenth of the season – and cap off a memorable night for Los Millonarios.
— HaceF5 (@HaceF5) May 14, 2017
It was hugely disappointing night for Boca meanwhile, who, despite remaining three points clear at the top, suffered a psychological blow to their title hopes at the hands of their fiercest rivals.
River, who now sit only four points off them in third place and with a game in hand, are making an assured effort to put their name in the hat for a first-placed finish, and coach Marcelo Gallardo spoke proudly of his players after the game.
“We had to come in strong in this stadium and from the start we had a main role”, he said, before reflecting that “there was a huge difference in football” between the two sides.
A real statement of intent from the Nunez side, proving that the Primera Division isn’t over ’til it’s over.
Newell’s bad form continues
Prior to River’s emphatic win in the Superclasico, Boca’s main point of concern regarding the title were Newell’s Old Boys, who went into their clásico Rosarino fixture against Rosario Central with hopes of getting their challenge back on track, having lost 4-2 to Independiente last weekend.
Despite some early Newell’s attacks, Central silenced the Coloso de Mario Bielsa support ten minutes in, thanks to a fine goal courtesy of Federico Carrizo.
? O primeiro gol do Rosario foi uma pintura! Belíssima execução de Federico Carrizo, carrasco de nosso freguês. pic.twitter.com/ascvWVTONM
— Rosario Central BRA (@CARCBrasil_) May 14, 2017
Striker Marco Ruben nodded home on the half-hour mark to give the visitors a two-goal cushion, before a late second-half strike from Mauro Formica gave Newell’s a dash of hope. Seconds later, however, it was Central who were celebrating once more as German Herrera put the game to bed.
Having been criticised earlier in the week for inciting ‘death threats’ to Rosario Central players, the two sides brandished the ‘clasico sin violencia‘ (which was also used before Sunday’s other derbies) slogan before kick-off. That did little to stop Newell’s’ home fans from throwing projectiles onto the pitch after the third Central goal went in, however, forcing the referee to temporarily stop the match and leaving the linesman with a head injury. On top of that, the police later had to disperse crowds with rubber bullets to cap off an all round ugly day for la Lepra.
Central coach Paolo Montero called the victory his “most important triumph as a manager” after the game, while Newell’s can only wonder what may have been after they once again failed to capitalise on a Boca slip-up. They fall to fourth in the table.
Golazos give life to Independiente’s season
The clásico de Avellenada provided the final touch to Sunday’s football feast, and despite a slow first-half, Independiente came out on top against neighbors Racing.
Emiliano Rigoni’s curled free-kick on 62′ found the corner to open the scoring, as Racing forward Gustavo Bou rued his failure to do so in the first-half.
— TOCOyVOY (@TOCOyVOYdeJOEL) May 15, 2017
It was another moment of individual brilliance which stole the show, however, as substitute Maxi Meza danced his way through the box to seal victory for El Rojo in second-half stoppage time. This video gives the best angle of the goal and shows just how much the clásico means to fans:
— MonarquíaRoja (@MonarquiaRoja) May 15, 2017
2-0 it finished, leaving Independiente just one point off their rivals in ninth place.
Elsewhere, San Lorenzo defeated Huracán to move into second, while Estudiantes beat Gimnasia 1-0 to put themselves back in the frame. The Primera División finale is sure to be an interesting one.