BUENOS AIRES – Buenos Aires clubs River Plate and Boca Juniors will play arguably the two biggest matches in their long rivalry when they square off in the two-legged final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club soccer competition, on Nov. 10 and Nov. 24.
But many other memorable games have been played in the history of Argentina’s Superclasico, which dates back more than 100 years and practically divides the South American country in two.
1. THE FIRST SUPERCLASICO
The first matchup in this fierce rivalry took place on Aug. 24, 1913, at Racing Club’s old stadium. River won that contest 2-1 thanks to goals by Candido Garcia and Antonio Ameal Pereyra, while Marcos Mayer accounted for Boca’s lone score.
2. THE BIGGEST BLOWOUT
On Dec. 23, 1928, eight years after their previous match, Boca won the biggest blowout in the history of the rivalry. Three different players – Domingo Tarasconi, Roberto Cherro and Esteban Kuko – each scored a brace in the 6-0 victory. The match ended seven minutes before time when River’s captain, whose team had suffered three serious injuries and was down to eight men, asked referee Eduardo Forte to halt the contest.
3. PROFESSIONAL ERA KICKS OFF WITH CONTROVERSY
The first Argentine Superclasico of the professional era – a Matchday 17 showdown in the Campeonato Argentino de Football – was played on Sept. 20, 1931, at Boca’s old stadium.
The day began with a preliminary match that was marred by a fight and had to be called off 30 minutes early when River’s players left the field while trailing 2-1.
The main match was played in front of nearly 50,000 people. Carlos Peucelle opened the scoring for River, but Boca scored the equalizer after a controversial penalty had been awarded.
Referee Enrique Escola sent off three River players for protesting, but when the trio refused to leave the field the match was suspended. Boca was awarded the victory a month later and went on to win the league title.
4. THE “MACHINE” THAT MADE HISTORY
River Plate boasted a fearsome lineup in the 1940s that achieved the club’s biggest-ever victory over its arch-rival.
On Oct. 19, 1941, head coach Jose Maria Minella oversaw a group nicknamed La Maquina (The Machine) that thrashed Boca 5-1 thanks to a brace by Aristobulo Deambrossi and one goal apiece by Jose Manuel Moreno, Angel Labruna and Adolfo Pedernera. Mario Boye scored the lone goal for Boca.
5. THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL MATCH
On Feb. 10, 1966, River and Boca faced each other for the first time in the Copa Libertadores. River won 2-1 at Monumental Stadium on the strength of goals by Juan Carlos Sarnari and Daniel Carlos Bayo, while Alfredo Rojas scored for Boca. Since then the teams have crossed paths 24 times on the international stage, with Boca coming out on top on 10 occasions, River winning seven and the seven other contests ending in a draw.