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Boca Juniors 2-0 River Plate: Gary Medel Wins Superclasico For Hosts

Yesterday 50,000 people marched through the centre of Buenos Aires to remember the 34th anniversary of Argentina falling under the control of a military dictatorship.

This afternoon the same number of people turned up to another charged atmosphere, this time it was the rearranged Superclasico match between Boca Juniors and River Plate.

Boca looked in control from the very start of the 80 minute contest and were good value for their 2-0 win. Even after double goal hero Gary Medel was dismissed in the second half it never looked like River could get back into the match.

The win serves as vindication for Boca’s under-fire head coach Abel Alves as the home side stuck to a game plan that their oldest rivals had no answer to.

The teams first took the field last Sunday before heavy rain forced the game to be cancelled after just nine minutes. This afternoon both teams were back on the pitch under bright sunshine to play the remaining 80 minutes.

There was a minor delay to kick-off as match-day stewards did their best to remove the sea of tickertape covering the pitch at la Bombonera. The crowd were kept entertained while the leaf blowers went to work by an excitable Diego Maradona waving from his box at the ground.

After some early sparring between the two sides, Juan Roman Riquelme got his first chance to impose himself on the match as he lined up a free kick on the edge of the River area. The playmaker drilled a low shot under the wall and Gary Medel stuck out a leg, turned the ball past Daniel Vega to give Boca the lead.

While the Chilean was certainly the furthest man forward when Riquelme struck the free kick there was no clear daylight between him and the last River defender.

River’s captain Marcelo Gallardo was at the heart of anything his side could muster to get back into the game. Their best chance of the first half came when youngster Rogelio Funes Mori was slipped in for a one-on-one but he could only shoot tamely and straight at Javier Garcia.

For Boca, Martin Palermo chased everything thrown his way up front knowing that one more goal in the yellow and blue will make him the club’s all time leading goalscorer.

Boca were able to hurt River the most on the flanks and Alves must have given himself a huge pat on the back when he saw his plan in action.

On the left full-back Fabian Monzon, midfielder Matias Gimenez and Riquelme worked as trio to nullify and then attack River. On the other side of the pitch Ezequiel Munoz, Gary Medel and Nicolas Gaitan did exactly the same job for the home side.

With Jesus Mendez back in his favoured position in the middle of the park these players put Boca on top of River for the whole game.

River’s boss Leo Astrada would have been relieved to have made it to half-time just one goal down but he failed to make any changes in the dressing room. Boca’s second goal of the game came just five minutes after the restart.

Monzon tore down the left and brought himself space by skinning his opposite number Paulo Ferrari. With time to look up and pick his pass he rolled the ball to Riquelme. The former Villarreal man then gave the onlooking Maradona a first hand look at what he is missing as he redirected Monzon’s pass by flicking it through his own legs and playing it blind to the onrushing Medel.

Medel’s right foot fizzing finish was of the highest order by Riquelme’s piece of skill made the goal a real scrapbook special. The former Argentina international had almost gone one better in the first half when he controlled a ball with his left and lifted with his right onto the roof of the net, all in midair.

Medel tempered his own display by adding a red card to his brace of goals when he picked up a second yellow late on.

River huffed and puffed but despite some positive changes it was Boca’s day at the second time of asking. It’s just a shame for Alves that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and Boca will probably be back to their woeful norm at the weekend.

For River’s head coach Astrada this Superclasico defeat could well see him down the Job Centre tomorrow. After the anniversary parade and the Superclasico, Astrada also might find another 50,000 people down there looking for the next big gathering in Buenos Aires.

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