River Plate set up Boca Juniors rematch in Copa Libertadores
The two fierce South American rivals will face off for a second year running
River Plate will face bitter rivals Boca Juniors in a rematch of last season’s Copa Libertadores decider after the defending champions overcame Cerro Porteno in the quarter-finals.
Thursday’s 1-1 draw away to Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno was enough for River to reach the semi-finals 3-1 on aggregate.
River, who are seeking back-to-back titles, carried a 2-0 lead into the second leg thanks to goals from Ignacio Fernandez and Rafael Borre in Buenos Aires.
Cerro Porteno sparked hope of a comeback in the eighth minute when former Borussia Dortmund forward Nelson Valdez put the home side ahead on the night.
Valdez, a 77-time Paraguay international, glanced a header past River goalkeeper Franco Armani.
But Cerro Porteno’s hopes were dashed when River midfielder Nicolas De La Cruz scored seven minutes into the second half with a ferocious volley.
River will now go head-to-head with Boca in a blockbuster all-Argentinian Libertadores semi-final.
It comes after River claimed the 2018 trophy with a 5-3 aggregate win over Boca in their controversial two-legged showdown.
The second leg had to be rearranged and moved to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu in December after the match was twice suspended in November due to an attack on Boca’s team bus by supporters.
River are currently fifth after four games of the new Superliga season, while Boca sit top of the table with three wins and one draw.
Racing Club were surprise domestic winners last season as they claimed just their third trophy over the past two decades.
Boca and River meanwhile finished third and fourth respectively in the league after their dramatic encounter in Copa Libertadores.
Daniele De Rossi signed for Boca over the summer citing Argentina’s intense love of football as a key reason for his move – something that will soon be further vindicated.
“Being 36 years old and changing everything at once was something that could scare me, but this place stimulates me,” De Rossi said in July.
“I asked myself many times. I lived for 20 years in a country where football is lived 24 hours a day.
“I could have chosen a much quieter place to relax, but I only know one way: seriousness, and then I chose to come to a place with the craziest fans in football.”
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