One day before the League Cup Superclásico: what must Boca do to beat River at the Monumental?

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It’s not just another match for Boca. It’s not even another Superclásico. Sunday’s duel against River at the Monumental will be fundamental in determining the direction of the team in 2024 and in evaluating – after 7 dates and a handful of friendlies – for the first time the work of Diego Martinez as the team’s coach. The challenge is enormous, but also a turning point for a team that needs joy.

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This is what it’s all about, an emotional turning point for a team that can no longer bear another disappointment. Boca will arrive at the Monumental with a record of 7 wins in the last 30 games played. It sounds like a lie, but it’s real. They barely managed to defeat in the 90 minutes (going through penalties is another story) Platense, Central Córdoba of Santiago del Estero, Unión de Santa Fe, Newell’s and Godoy Cruz -in the last championship-, and the Tigre and the Central Córdoba in the current. Championship Cup. Very little.

PHOTO MARCELO CARROLL - ClarínPHOTO MARCELO CARROLL – Clarín

With River – moreover – they have just fallen in the last two matches, those of 2023 (1-0 at the Monumental with a goal from Borja, on a penalty; and 2-0 at the Bombonera, with an alternative team, on the run – until the semifinal of the Libertadores ). But beyond the numbers and the formation of the eleven who will take to the field, the fundamental thing for Boca will be the attitude.

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There is a stigma that is difficult for Boca fans to recognise, but in the last decade (or rather, from the passage through the South American in 2015) to today, River has been a clear dominator of the Superclásicos. But not for the results in itself, but because of the way of playing. River has been playing better than Boca for a while now.

However, everything has an end and especially winning streaks in football. This is why for Boca a victory this Sunday will mean a change of energy and a launching pad to dream of a year of titles and celebrations. It seems the time has come to strike, given that after Marcelo Gallardo’s farewell, Millonario’s performance curve seems to have begun its inevitable decline.

So what should Boca do to celebrate at the Monumental? Go and play evenly, bet on winning and don’t speculate on a draw which, first, seems like a good deal. And this goes beyond the result: with Sebastián Battaglia on the bench, in 2022, Boca defended itself and won 1-0 with Villa’s goal; In 2023, with Jorge Almirón, he did the same, but lost 1-0 due to Borja’s penalty. We know that no tactic guarantees victory, but the image, the photo with which Núñez’s Xeneize will leave, will be important.

PHOTO MARCELO CARROLL - ClarínPHOTO MARCELO CARROLL – Clarín

That’s why Martínez came to Boca, to change the image. A coach who has crossed all categories of Argentine football. That even in the most difficult conditions (in Ituzaingó, Cañuelas or Midland) has always tried to play the ball well, to have a balanced team, but one that thinks about attack and with players with good footing (Altamirano and Joao, on promotion) with l’Estudiantes, in 2019; Menossi, Zabala and Magnín in the First National Title with Tigre, in 2021). “The idea is non-negotiable”is one of the coach’s mantras.

Boca must bet on a winner in Núñez. You have something to be excited about. He knows his rival’s weaknesses (he must put pressure on González Pirez’s departure, as Falcioni’s Banfield did) and what his main arguments for hitting are: intensity and good ball management. Small detail: the coach still has to define the midfield.

In attack there will be Miguel Merentiel and Edinson Cavani; Sergio Romero will be the goalkeeper; The defense will be the one that did not concede a goal against Tigre, Defensa y Justicia and Central Córdoba, namely Luis Advíncula, Cristian Lema, Jorge Figal and Lautaro Blanco. And in the middle there are doubts: Kevin Zenón, on the left, is the only certainty; So Equi or Campuzano? Medina or Bullaude? Blondel or Jabes Saralegui? At this point it seems that it is not a question of names, but a question of attitude.

Source: Clarin

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