Apologies for the lack of coverage of Saturday’s matches – my phone line (and with it my broadband) crashed on Saturday morning and was only fixed on Sunday – but the first competitive superclásico of 2008 is now just a few hours away. I type during the first few minutes of the Milan derby, but the biggest match in world football this weekend is taking place in Buenos Aires. If you’re unable to get it on an internet stream or indeed on real television, you can follow the full thing here, with live updates throughout the match and a full report (I’ll also be embedding whatever highlights videos I can find when they’re available after the game). To get things started, the starting XIs of both sides have been confirmed. I’m guessing at River’s exact formation (Diego Simeone is fielding five forwards but presumably won’t be playing a 4-1-5), but barring any injuries during the warm-up, they’ll look like this…
Boca Juniors (manager: Carlos Ischia):
L. Monzón —- J. Maidana —- J.C. Cáceres —- C. Morel Rodríguez
P. Ledesma —- S. Battaglia —- J. Dátolo
J. R. Riquelme
R. Palacio —- M. Palermo
River Plate (manager: Diego Simeone):
J. P. Carrizo
D. Gerlo —- N. Sánchez —- E. Tuzzio —- C. Villagra
M. Abelairas —– A. Ortega
D. Buonanotte —- R. Falcao García —– A. Sánchez
Ariel Ortega’s return for River Plate means that two legends of the last 15 years of Argentine football -Ortega and Juan Román Riquelme – will be charged with generating the play for their sides this afternoon. If you’re not lucky enough to be in La Bombonera, you can follow all the buildup right here…
Vamos Boca. The key will be the play of Palacio (Boca) and Sanchez (River).
If Palacio has a better game than Sanchez, then Boca wins.
If Sanchez has a better game than Palacio, then River wins.
Neither of these guys is consistent. All the other players on both teams will be playing (out of their minds) great.
Interesting thoughts, Chris. To my mind, it’s more down to how well Claudio Morel Rodríguez and (ex-River player) Julio César Cáceres can deal with Diego Buonanotte, who’s been out of this world in recent matches. The battle between Falcao and his markers, and Palermo and his at the other end, will also be interesting.
Palacio’s finishing is hardly the best in the world and against Carrizo in goal, even the River-supporting part of me (which I’ll be trying to suppress as much as possible on the later coverage of the game) is struggling to get nervous about him. Dátolo, Riquelme and Palermo, on the other hand…
Let’s get ready to ruuuuummmmmble ! Sam, if your starting 11 for Boca is correct then this will be the first time in memory that Monzon is on that side of the field. I thought Ischia was going to play Morel along side Caceres, with Monzon in Morel’s usual position. We’ll see, either way it’s not Boca’s best defensive line up and Battaglia and Ledesma will have to have very good efforts. No Vargas hurts, though we won’t have to worry about him getting a red ! If Boca’s backline holds up and Palacio can have the kind of match he is capable of then it should be a very competitive match. If Datolo scores I will never say another bad thing about him.
Johnny, in that case I’d suggest it’s wrong, which makes more sense. I’ve probably put Gerlo and Villagre the wrong way round for River as well – I tried as best I could to work it out from shirt numbers since Olé don’t put the exact formations (L-R) up, but only one of the full backs on show today will be wearing the ‘proper’ number under the Argentine system (Villagra in the 3).