Boca Juniors’ Copa Libertadores disqualification: trying to summarise the fall-out

Four links here, three audio and one written. It’s just under a week since River Plate players were attacked with home-made pepper spray by a Boca Juniors barra brava, causing the cancellation of the second half of their Copa Libertadores last sixteen superclásico, and Boca’s disqualification from the tournament (as well as first degree burns to four River players). As you can imagine, it’s been a busy week for those of us who write and talk about Argentine football. Here’s what I’ve been doing.

First, when the whole thing kicked off I was commentating on the match from my sofa for Rabble TV, and if you’ve got a few hours spare you can listen back, from a pretty uneventful and dull first half through to the chaos that ensued as the second was meant to be starting. I’ll be occasionally commentating on big games on Rabble, by the way; my next appearance there will be this Sunday afternoon, when Racing host Independiente in the clásico de Avellaneda.

Next, I wrote this piece for ESPNFC in an attempt to explain some of the discussions around the fracas and the subsequent CONMEBOL decision to expel Boca from this year’s Copa Libertadores.

No week in Argentine football would be complete, of course, without a Hand Of Pod recording, and this week I was joined by Peter Coates for a special early recording on Monday, to discuss the debacle with the benefit of a few days’ hindsight.

And finally, I was a guest on World Soccer Talk Radio right after that HOP recording, talking their listeners through the incident, the sanctions and the reaction to all of it here in Buenos Aires.

Posted in Barra brava, Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, La Doce, Other football sites, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

CONMEBOL ruling: Boca Juniors out of 2015 Copa Libertadores


They took their sweet time announcing it, but CONMEBOL finally tweeted the above photograph on Saturday night, confirming that Boca Juniors have been disqualified from this year’s Copa Libertadores after the acid spray attack on River Plate’s team prior to the second half of Thursday night’s last sixteen second leg. As well as the expulsion (which Boca can’t appeal), they will have to play their next four continental home games behind closed doors, and won’t be allowed to take away fans to their next four continental away games; a US$200,000 fine has also been levied. These latter three points will all be appealed by the club, who have also voiced their disagreement with the decision to expel them from the competition. There will be an article by me on ESPNFC shortly.

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Boca Juniors v River Plate suspended – trying to make a bit of sense of it

I can’t quite work out how to start here, so let’s just dive in, as I don’t plan on this being a long post. It’s been a bad day for Argentine football; on Thursday morning, Banfield youngster Emiliano Ortega died from a head injury he’d picked up last week playing on loan for lower division side San Martín de Burzaco. This weekend’s Primera División fixtures, along with every other domestic match in Argentina, have been called off as a mark of respect.

And then the second leg of the Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie between Boca Juniors and River Plate at La Bombonera was suspended on Thursday night before kick off of the second half, after River players were attacked by pepper spray (was it just pepper spray?), seemingly sprayed on them by a ‘fan’ who’d damaged the inflatable tunnel they were coming out of onto the pitch.

That’s about all we know for certain so far. Fox Sports commentators at the match said they’d received a message from a friend who recognised the ‘fan’ apparently using a blowtorch or some kind of controlled flare – I’m assured by Twitter followers this would be possible depending on the kind of flare – cutting through the chainlink fence at the side of the pitch (who was shown on the TV cameras). It was claimed that he had received a banning order from the club 45 days before, so shouldn’t have even been at the match. If true, that doesn’t speak very highly of entrance checks, but national Security Secretary Sergio Berni said afterwards that, ‘the security operation was a success.’ The match was suspended. Boca want to arrange for the second half to be played in a few days’ time (in a neutral venue, and it should go without saying, behind closed doors), whilst River are understandably more reticent.

CONMEBOL regulations would appear to be clear – if ‘fans’ of one team cause a match to be called off, the other team are awarded the match. Without needing to worry about a scoreline, that in this case would result in River advancing to the quarter-finals, since they already won last week’s first leg 1-0 (tonight’s match was 0-0 when it was called off). But will CONMEBOL apply that regulation? There are rumours that the mixture sprayed on the players contained more than just pepper spray – acid from a phosphorescent flare was mentioned on Radio Mitre. And there was talk on ESPN’s South American broadcast (which was covering the aftermath but didn’t broadcast the game – the tournament rights are held by Fox Sports) of Boca having La Bombonera suspended for continental competitions for as much as two years. But right now, it’s all just talk. For the moment, we don’t know which of these teams will be in the quarter-finals, or what punishment will be handed down to Boca, and Leonardo Ponzio, Sebastián Driussi, Ramiro Funes Mori and Matías Kranevitter will be spending the night in a burns unit.

Racing got through their own last sixteen tie by beating Montevideo Wanderers 2-1 in El Cilindro for a 3-2 aggregate win, by the way. Well done, Racing.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, Football security, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some tips for watching Boca Juniors v River Plate (14th May 2015) live in the Copa Libertadores last 16

Unlike last week’s first leg, TV Pública have realised before kick off that they’re not allowed to broadcast outside Argentina for the second leg of this Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie between Boca Juniors and River Plate (River have a 1-0 advantage from the first leg), so your options for a stream this evening are betting websites, if you have an account, or perhaps checking whether local TV stations to you are showing it. Definitely don’t set a VPN to Argentina and visit this page, because that would be very naughty. And don’t try Roja Directa or similar sites either. I can’t emphasise this enough.

If you’re lucky enough to be watching, or insist on ignoring my advice above, you can also listen to me providing live commentary of my own for the match over on RabbleTV. Come and join the fun!

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode 184: One more superclásico, Independiente’s Europe-bound players, Argentina squads and more


The hundred and eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, the internet’s finest (okay, only) English-language Argentine football podcast, is online, previewing Thursday night’s epic Boca Juniors v River Plate Copa Libertadores second leg clash, and discussing much more besides. You have no reason not to listen to it, and you can do so here.

Originally posted on Hand Of Pod:

In the hundred and eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés look back on a goal-laden weekend of Primera División action, and on last week’s Copa Libertadores last sixteen first leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors. We consider what River’s 1-0 win means for Thursday night’s return leg, and domestically we discuss Crucero del Norte’s uselessness, Belgrano’s and Rosario Central’s good campaigns, and Independiente’s chances of losing three players to various European clubs, as well as Federico Mancuello’s hilarious red card on Sunday night against Boca, and why he won’t be suspended for this Sunday’s clásico away to Racing, which we also preview. Listen before Thursday’s Libertadores second leg between Boca and River for the full experience, but there’s plenty more in store if you don’t get here until afterwards! HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina…

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All the goals from the twelfth round of Argentine Primera action

Boca Juniors remain top of the table in spite of a draw away to Independiente, thanks to River Plate and Racing’s earlier 0-0 on Sunday evening. There was a five goal thriller in Florencio Varela on Monday night as Colón grabbed a 3-2 away win over Defensa y Justicia, a huge shock in Parque Patricios, where Olimpo ended a run of 777 minutes without a goal to score three in fourteen minutes and claim a 3-1 win away to Huracán, and a flurry in Santa Fe, where Unión battered Crucero del Norte 5-2. Enjoy.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Goal videos, Independiente, Primera A, Rosario Central, Unión de Santa Fe | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gerardo Martino names preliminary 30-player list for Copa América

On Monday, Argentina manager Gerardo Martino named his 30-player preliminary squad list for the Copa América in Chile; from this list, 23 players will be selected who will form Argentina’s squad for the tournament. The biggest surprise is that Newell’s Old Boys full back Milton Casco, who’s not previously been involved with the squad under Martino, has been included. Here’s the full list.

Continue reading

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River Plate 1-0 Boca Juniors: highlights from last night’s Copa Libertadores superclásico

River Plate and Boca Juniors met in the first leg of their last sixteen tie in the Copa Libertadores on Thursday night, and it was far from a classic – as most superclásicos in fact tend to be. Neither as bad-tempered as the derby often gets, nor as free-flowing and end-to-end as a properly good normal match can be, it was nonetheless enthralling because of the rivalry and what was at stake. Here’s a ten minute highlight video of River’s 1-0 win, complete with all the local South American passion of a, erm, Brazilian commentator (look, it was the only full highlight video I could find on YouTube, okay?). Enjoy.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, Goal videos, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , ,

River Plate v Boca Juniors (7th May 2015): watch Copa Libertadores last 16 first leg live

The second part of May’s Superclásico Trilogy is almost upon us, as River Plate host Boca Juniors in the last sixteen of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition. In Argentina, this match is being screened free to air by TV Pública, who have a live stream of their channel 24 hours a day – meaning you can watch the match on their site (it’s not being shown on the Fútbol Para Todos YouTube channel because whilst they’ll be producing the broadcast, the rights for Argentina have been obtained directly by TV Pública this time, not by FPT).

You can also listen to me having a go at live commentary on the match from the comfort of my living room, accompanied by a few Cuba libres! To watch the match, click here (I can’t embed the player on this page sadly), and to listen to my comms, mute the sound on the TV Pública stream and head over to this Rabble TV broadcast. Kick off is at 9pm local time (1am Friday British Summer Time, 8pm Eastern Daylight Time), and my broadcast will begin at 8:45. Enjoy the match!

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , , ,

Primera División 2015: all the goals from round eleven

Yes, round eleven of this year’s Primera started a week ago. But it’s taken until today for Fútbol Para Todos to get all the goals online in one video, so here it is, at long last – including Boca Juniors’ late double to win the superclásico against River Plate, Matías Pisano’s lovely finish for Independiente and Juan Sánchez Sotelo’s golazo in vain for Defensa y Justicia in their defeat away to Atlético de Rafaela.

Posted in Goal videos, Primera A, Results | Tagged , , ,