The Supercopa Argentina was played on Wednesday night, and for a change it was all but impossible for it not to feel like at least a bit of an occasion. That was because however pointless the trophy, the identities of the two clubs playing for it guaranteed that this would be a big (if not necessarily very pretty) game: the 2016-17 league champions, Boca Juniors, took on the 2017 Copa Argentina winners, River Plate. The cliché about form going out the window when a big derby comes around was certainly true this time, to such a degree that post-game, Marcelo Gallardo told the press that, ‘our strategy for this game was to play like crap for the last few months.’ Boca were well on top of the early exchanges, but a Gonzalo Martínez penalty gave River new confidence, and although they remained largely second best, they allowed Boca very few really clear cut chances. Goalkeeper Franco Armani came up big for River in the second half – which Boca started very strongly – and Ignacio Scocco struck a hammer blow to the Xeneizes‘ chances when he stabbed home at the end of a length-of-the-pitch counter-attack following a Boca corner. It’s only a supercup, but against these opponents it will feel like a lot more than that for River. And it was far from pretty, but perhaps this performance will provide a foundation for the work that needs to be done on the team, who should now have more confidence if nothing else.
Boca Juniors 0-2 River Plate