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Argentina - Brazil 2:0: How River and Boca put up a Superclásico finals | Football
" Arriving at EZE on 23 October so overburdened was a strange start to two big, drama filled Buenos Aires in a day of soccer. South America's response to the Champions League, the semi-final drawing for the Copa Libertadores, had produced two major matches with four giant teams, and the excitement was felt all over the town.
Riots between the two biggest South American countries are well entrenched, not least thanks to their Copa Libertadores triumph. Argentine ancients have won the tournament 24 rounds, the Brazilians 18 at the back, and they were on the verge of reaching the semi-finals. More precisely, that was Buenos Aires against Brazil: the big two from the Argentine capitol, who are up against a couple of foreigners.
River Plate would first welcome the current champion Grêmio to El Monumental, their huge shell from a home. Next night, the Boca Juniors pushed nearly 50,000 pieces into the crooked Bombonera - a floor that a supporter pridely shared with me that it resembled a crumbling carton - for visiting Palmeiras, the absolute favorite to beat the contest.
It has not started well in the Buenos Aires district near Palermo. Getting over the current champion Grêmio - who won last year's finals against Lanús, another Buenos Aires side at home and on the road - would be a big challenge for River and would bring the tournament nearer to a delicious Superclásico finale.
One river enthusiast told me that when a Brasilian fanclub enters the city, the tension gets bigger and bigger, and in fact I see a meeting of policemen and supporters outside one of the goals. Inside, Grêmio trainer Renato Gaúcho once again refutes the notion that he lacked the necessary strategic skills to provide on this great event.
Selling Arthur to Barcelona for £35 million early this year, Grêmio is also without striker Luan, but their retaining middlefielder Michel shoots the only gate of the match and the Brazil team leaves Buenos Aires with a 1-0 win, an away-goal and the chance to finish the second stage next weekend in Porto Alegre.
" It' not the most traditionally said salute I have ever heard from someone who gives me a big tickets to a big soccer game, but I am nodding. Palmiras is the Brazil team that most clearly embodies the feeling of economic inequality in Latin America soccer. Boosted by the upswing, Brazil saw the top of the league and the last four of the Libertadores in the hands of Palmiras.
Just as a crowded venue can create a more lively athmosphere than a huge dish in an arenas, the narrow streets and paths near La Boca make it easy to enjoy the light. Bombonera creates one of the most exciting environments in global soccer and Boca also has one of the fastest recognizable kit in the match.
However, Gilmar Ferreira, a Brazil based news writer, told me that the hostilities at the clubs are greater than at River. "He says I really hate Boca." The Flamengo market themselves as a people's dazzling clubs, but their managers do not shy away from charging merciless tickets when they make it to the finals. Returning to the Bombonera, Boca's two well-taken goal from Bendedetto Boca gave them a 2-0 win in the first half.
It is an outstanding victory over a wealthier adversary and another frustration for a Brazil side on the largest scene. In view of their economic benefits, the Libertadores should be dominated by Brazil associations. But in the three issues of the competition between Atlético Mineiro's victory in 2013 and Grêmio's last year's victory, not a single Brasilian side made it to the finals - a feat that the sports media quite justifiably regard as outrageous.
This sense of resistance swings on the floor and the Boca supporters will be delighted when the last blast proves their loss to a wealthier hero. The following weekend both Argentine clubs won their place in the finals. The River Plate defeated current champion Grêmio after away gates with a 2-1 victory in Porto Alegre, and then Boca finished his overall victory 4-2 against Palmeiras in São Paulo to put up the desired finals in Buenos Aires.
However, since it was South America, it was not uncontroversial. Gremio asked Conmebol to throw River out of the contest after it turned out that their trainer had resisted a move-line injunction in the second run and walked into the wardrobe at halfway to talk to his team. While the splendour and romanticism of this one-hour finale remained, there was still mockery from Brazil.
Santos was penalised with a 3-0 loss at the start of the tournament because he had used an unauthorised man against Independiente, but when River Bruno Zuculini - also unauthorised - played Flamengo in the group phase, he went unanswered. The Libertadores have the finale of their dream on the face of the earth - two huge people from the same town, making story in a great Superclásico that the whole planet will make.
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