April 19, 2009

The Argentine Superclasico ended in a frustrating draw that better suits River Plate, which remains in title contention. The absence of Juan Roman Riquelme was greatly noticed by a Boca Juniors side that lacked its normal punch.

Boca started the stronger of the two sides, but although it threatened the River goal in the early moments of the match, it did so with little danger.

River came more into the game as the half progressed, and tried to pump as many high-balls as possible into the area for the likes of Cristian Fabbiani and Radamel Falcao Garcia.

The match was played with an intense pace, but with few goal-scoring opportunities for each side, as both teams engaged in a fierce midfield battle.

Boca almost went ahead, when Nicolas Gaitan bursted forward on a brilliant run down the right wing and sent a ball into the area for Rodrigo Palacio, who headed the ball straight into the hands of Daniel Vega.

Minutes later a long-range Sebastian Battaglia thunderbolt flew inches over the River crossbar.

A rather uneventful first half ended scoreless, with Boca perhaps having played the better football of the two teams.

After the break Boca tried to catch River by surprise with some exciting attacking football. It dominated their opponents, and it seemed that at any moment it would take the lead.

In the 58th minute Martin Palermo put Boca ahead with a spectacular left-footed drive from outside of the area.

Just a few minutes later Palacio got into the area and shot over the crossbar.

After going behind, River coach Nestor Gorosito replaced Fabbiani with Diego Buonanotte, in order to give more speed to his attack. Buonanotte went on one of his pacey runs through the center of the field, and was brought down before entering the box.

River captain Marcelo Gallardo stepped up to the ball and curled in a spectacular free-kick to draw Los Millonarios level in the 68th minute.

The goal gave River a huge boost in confidence, and it began to pile heavy pressure on the Boca goal.

Ten minutes before full-time Falcao should have snatched River the three points, when he was sent through on goal, with Roberto Abbondanzieri off his goal-line, but the Colombian shot inches wide of the left post.

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