Boca took a while to finally stamp their authority on their Mexican visitors, only getting the goal that finally killed the game off with nine minutes left, but all the same, the defending champions played their first home match of this year’s campaign, and got their first win to partly expunge the bad memories of the draw in Venezuela a couple of weeks ago. Rodrigo Palacio scored twice, and Martín Palermo added one late on. To read about the match and watch the goals, step this way…
In truth, Boca didn’t impress with their performance, but they did have the quality which marked them out in last year’s victorious run to the trophy: clinical finishing. They lacked precision further down the pitch, though, and Juan Román Riquelme in particular was notable for his subdued performance, whilst Miguel Brindisi’s visitors, in contrast, were full of life and fought for every ball.
On 32 minutes, though, it was the hosts who took the lead, and steadied their nerves a little. Left back Claudio Morel Rodríguez cut back and crossed the ball in the general direction of Rodrigo Palacio, who cut an almost apologetic volley in past a despairing Jorge Bava in the Atlas goal. Shortly after, Boca seemed to wake up and created more chances, Riquelme going close with a left footed drive, and Bava getting the better of Palacio in a one-on-one. Bava should, in fact, have been sent off for his ‘save’, as he ploughed into the Boca striker, but the referee didn’t see the challenge and the Atlas ‘keeper got away with it.
The second half saw Boca start more brightly but Atlas, encouraged by good goalkeeping from Bava, came into it later and forced some action out of Boca goalie Mauricio Caranta, playing in spite of rumours he’d be unfit in the days before the match. As things started to look nervy, entering the last ten minutes, Palacio struck again, running onto a through ball and stabbing past Bava to put the outcome finally beyond doubt. Two minutes later, substitute Jesús Dátolo sent in a cross from the left which Martín Palermo met with a well-placed header at the far post for his 181st goal in Boca’s colours.
That was it, apart from a straight red given to visiting defender Néstor Vidrio for an overenthusiastic challenge on Morel Rodríguez. Following the win, Boca now sit top of Group 3 with four points, whilst Colo Colo and Atlas have three each and Maracaibo are stuck on one.
Boca Juniors 3 – 0 Atlas
Not a great game, but I continue to be mightily impressed with Caranta. A couple of excellent saves when it was still 1-0.
someone told me that the level and qualite of soccer of copa libertadores is less than Chamions league. Do you thing that this is true?
I was overjoyed to see Caranta on the pitch last night ! He proved his worth aqain. All in all, not a great performance from Boca though. They looked flat at the beginning (how can you be flat for that match ?). Palacio had his best match in a long time, Vargas is beginning to lessen the loss of Banega and Caranta is Caranta. Even the a bit despised Datolo fed a perfect cross to El Loco.
The level of the players in the Libertadores might not be as high, Carla, because the best players continue to go to Europe, but overall I find the Libertadores a far better tournament to watch, as readers of this site will have gathered. The Champions League is dominated by the richest clubs and upsets stand out because they’re rare – in the Libertadores trying to predict anything is a risky business.
No competition whose latter stages are dominated by Premier Legaue clubs can possibly be the best in the world, can it?!
It’s a great question and I am often torn as to what to watch at those times when their is a scheduling conflict. Two nights ago I watched the replay of Porto and Schalke (not knowing the outcome) instead of Danubio and Estudiantes (for which I received a verbal hiding from a porteno buddy). I can’t help but be drawn to the level of talent in Europe, but there is certainly a ton of talent on display in the Libertadores as well (as evidenced by Fluminense’s display the other night). All that said, it would be tough to find a better match to watch than the Arsenal/Milan contest. I’m glad we have the many choices. :)
Interesting debate. I prefer the level of football you get to see in the Champions League.
One little example. Riquelme couldn’t get his team to the final (missing from the spot against Arsenal in the semis) and then he comes back to Boca and wins singlehandedly the Copa Libertadores. It was because of his immense talent, but also because the opposition is not that strong as it was in the Champions League.
While I agree in some of Sam’s points (the surprise factor, etc), I would like to point out that Boca Juniors have won the Libertadores in 4 of the last 8 editions and since 1992 there were only two champions coming from outside Brazil or Argentina (Olimpia of Paraguay in 2002 and Once Caldas of Colombia in 2004).
In the Champions League, there is no country that has repeated a title in the last 4 editions (where we had winners from Portugal, England, Spain and Italy).
The only two teams to repeat a title in the last 8 years are Real Madrid (1999-2000 and 2001-2002) and AC Milan (2002-2003 and 2006-2007).
The fact that (except very few exceptions) the stadiums are always full in every Champions League match, really adds a little something to that competition in comparison with the Libertadores. Of course we need to have in mind that the economy of the football fans in South America is not as strong as those from Europe and going to matches here is more expensive than in Europe (if you compare tickets prices with the supporter’s income).
It’ll be very difficult for me to watch a Copa Libertadores match if there is some action going on in the Champions League at the same time.
I do not watch much Champions League football because I only have a liitle time to watch TV. But, I love the Libertadores. The level of play, the intensity and the international intrigue are all wonderful. In both the CL and Libertadores, players play great football. In the Americas, football players MUST get to Europe in order to be successful so they are certain to play thier best on the Libertadores. Then, once a player reaches the CL they want to prove their football/team is the best in Europe. I’m simply saying that I love the Libertadores and I don’t mind that I miss many great CL games.
thanks for all the answers!! I asked it because my husband (who is european, I am argentinian) said that it’s easier to win Copa LIbertadores than to win CL, because the level of the first is less. I was a little bit hurted and I replied that european championship is interesting thanks to all the southamerican stars that come from the “poor” level of this continent! But yes, it is true than in Europe we can find the best (or considered the best) players in the world, including southamericans. Anyway, I can not say if winning LIbertadores is easier. But at the end, as Chris Leonard says, it is a matter of taste. Personally, even if I see an impresive physical performance in europe, I prefer the southamerican way of play…