And more pertinently, ¡Román campeón! Porto Alegre lived up to its name as far as Boca and their fans were concerned on Wednesday night. Having won the first leg 3-0 in La Bombonera, they travelled to face a Grêmio side who were vastly improved on their own showing in that match. Not good enough, however, to stop one Juan Román Riquelme.
Grêmio had the better of the play for the most part, creating more chances – but then they would, at 3-0 down on aggregate and playing at home – and hitting the post five minutes into the second half. But Boca weathered the storm, kept their heads and applied the pressure. In the 68th minute, it told.
Riquelme, playing the last match of his loan spell with Boca before he returns to Villarreal at the end of the month, took a pass from Hugo Ibarra just inside the penalty box, spun on it and hit a stinging shot across the goal into the far corner. A goal worthy of sealing any cup final, scored by one of few players capable of such brilliance.
Thereafter, Boca were in control and the urgency which had marked Grêmio’s earlier play left them. Riquelme added a second in the 80th minute, getting to a rebound from a Rodrigo Palacio shot first after he himself had initially set Palacio free. A fairytale ending to a romance (I shan’t apologise because it’s a pun Boca’s fans have been making in their banners as well) between player and club that may not yet be over. There was still time for Martín Palermo to blaze a penalty wide after going down in the box, but the night belonged to Riquelme.
Boca Juniors, then, are champions of South America for a sixth time – only Independiente, with seven, have won more Copas Libertadores. Will Riquelme be back? Will it be yet another final next year? That’s still to come, but for now they can enjoy the party.
Check back tomorrow, as ever, for the goals from the match. Until then, if it’s photos you’re after, you could do a lot worse than check out El Gráfico‘s special section from the first leg.
Photo nicked from ole.clarin.com
I hate that bastard! I trully do! And now he seems to play for the national team again! After all that crap he said about his mum feeling sad and ill when journalist said bad things about his way of playing!! I hope Argentina is out in the first round of Copa America, and once for all, keeping those kind of people OUT of our national team!