There's no place like home for Boca and what we learned in South America this week

The Buenos Aires giants have been in dreadful form on the road and want to make amends - plus Inter's Serie A strife and two pitched battles threaten to end the Copa Peru

Boca Juniors racked up another victory at the Bombonera at the weekend to continue their quest to regain the Primera Division title the Xeneize lifted back in December 2015. Taking three points away from their fearsome home fortress, however, has proved rather more difficult this year. 

Strikes from Gino Peruzzi, Cristian Pavon, Walter Bou and an own goal from Gaston Aguirre gave Guillermo Barros Schelotto's side a 4-0 victory over Temperley on Saturday, lifting them to third in the table behind Estudiantes and Newell's Old Boys. It was the coach's seventh league win in 10 at the Bombonera since taking over at the start of 2016, while the former Xeneize striker remains unbeaten on home turf. 

On the road, however, the trainer has found life rather harder. Boca have failed to win a single away game, drawing four and losing five of the last nine. That appalling record led to a disappointing mid-table finish in the 2016 transition season and keeps them seven points behind the current runaway leaders from La Plata, who strengthened their own championship credentials with a hard-fought comeback victory against Racing Club at the weekend. 

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There is plenty to be positive about at the Buenos Aires giants. Young Pavon has established himself as one of the country's most promising young strikers, forming a fearsome partnership with Carlos Tevez to net three goals so far this term. 

Fellow youngsters Nazareno Solis, a signing from Primera rivals Talleres, and Colombian Wilmer Barrios made their bows off the bench, showing Boca have plenty of depth in a squad that is one of the strongest in South America. And there was even further cheer on Sunday when Fernando Gago marked his return from a serious knee injury by scoring a goal from the team's reserves. 

But if they cannot shake that away jinx, those torrents of goals that flow at the Bombonera - 13 in four games so far this season - may count for nothing. Next weekend's clash against Gimnasia represents another chance to beat their demons, and it is a must-win for a club where success is not so much expected as viscerally demanded by the passionate fans. 


Just six years ago, Porto Alegre's Internacional were Copa Libertadores champions and preparing to dispute the Club World Cup. But nothing stands still in South America, and now the Brazilian giants face a nailbiting end to the season in order to avoid what would be an historic relegation to Serie B. 

A 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Santa Cruz means Inter sit in 16th place, just two points above the relegation zone with five games still to play. Results have picked up somewhat in recent weeks, but the team are still suffering from a chronic lack of goals - just 32 in 33 Serie A games, the third-worst record in the entire league. 

Inter are one of five teams that have never been relegated since the Brazilian second tier was incorporated into the professional league system. Porto Alegre rivals Gremio have been down twice, and memories of those relegations are often stirred up by Inter fans as a way to mock their neighbours ahead of derbies. 

Gremio, however, are hoping to push into the top six and grab a place in the Libertadores, while their rivals are fighting for their lives. There is no room for error if they wish to avoid an unprecedented, ignominous drop into Serie B. 


Sebastian Pol's incredible attack on a Universidad Catolica fan quickly went viral across the world, bringing to mind the antics of former Manchester United star Eric Cantona. But the moment could have long-term implications for the Argentine Audax Italiano player, who was taken away from his team's dressing room in handcuffs at the end of the game.

Chilean law allows for stiff sentences to handed down to those convicted of violent acts at football matches, ostensibly to act as a deterrent against incidents involving supporters. But despite being on the other side of the security fences, Pol's actions also come under the law's remit, meaning he could face a similar punishment - up to three years in jail. 

The Mendoza native has since apologised for the incident, but it remains to be seen whether that contrition will make an impact on authorities. For now Pol is going to struggle to make an impact for Audax, as he receives an automatic stadium ban - as may the victim, who is accused of insulting and spitting at the Argentine prior to the Cantona moment. 


It is, without a doubt, one of the most impenetrable, chaotic tournaments in the entire football world. From horrific acts of violence on the pitch to the occasional cow invasion, and an entirely incomprehensible format that needs a physics degree to work out, the Copa Peru is the place where one must always expect the unexpected. 

But now, the self-proclaimed 'Macho Football' and the world's most heavily populated tournament - 50 teams entered in 2016 - may come to a halt. The Peruvian Football Federation has suspended its second-tier games for the coming weekend after two games ended in utter chaos. 

San Jose's 6-3 'win' over Santo Domingo was postponed when the latter's fourth goal was ruled out for offside. A Santo Domingo player proceeded to punch the linesman in the face and was arrested on sight, while the official required medical assistance. 

That, however, was tame compared to the events at Molinos El Pirata's clash with Racing Club de Huamachuco. At the final whistle both sides began to brawl; and for good measure scores of fans climbed the security fences to join in the action, leading to several more arrests. 

This most insane of tournaments now hangs in the balance, as the FPF resolved to keep play paralysed until security could be guaranteed.