Boca Juniors vs River Plate predictions and match preview

Boca Juniors vs River Plate predictions and match preview

The first leg of the Copa Libertadores is just days away and it’s set to be a fiery affair with Boca Juniors taking on River Plate.

A Superclasico bigger than any Superclasico before it, River Plate travel to arch-rivals Boca Juniors for the first leg before the return on November, 24.

Read on for Boca Juniors v River Plate live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.

When is Boca Juniors vs River Plate?

Competition: Copa Libertadores

Venue: La Bombonera

Date: Sunday, 11 November

Kick-off: 7:00 PM GMT

The game was initially scheduled to take place on Saturday, 10 November but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at La Bombonera.

Who is future Real Madrid signing Exequiel Palacios?

According to some reports, 13-time European champions Real Madrid have already secured the signing of River Plate youngster Exequiel Palacios, with the move set to be confirmed after the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final.

The 20-year-old is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents in South America and is already a full international with Argentina, earning two caps in September 2018.

Palacios made his River Plate debut as a 16-year-old in 2015, coming off the bench in a 2-0 defeat against Newell’s Old Boys. But the Argentine would have to wait until 2017 to become a bigger part of the River first team, starting 13 matches in all competitions during the 2017/18 season.

This year, Palacios has become a more important cog of the team, starting in five of River Plate’s 11 Primera Division games, while also coming on from the bench on three occasions – only missing the last two fixtures.

What is his playing style?

A central midfielder by trade, Palacios is at his best when off the ball, whether that’s pressing opponents, tracking back to defend or giving team-mates a passing opportunity, similar to how N’Golo Kante does for Chelsea- though that is in no means a comparison in abilities at this stage.

The 20-year-old has averaged 2.5 tackles per 90 minutes in Argentina so far this season, while also intercepting at a rate of 0.6 per 90.

It is this which earned him an Argentina call-up, given their midfield struggles at the World Cup, where they failed to support a front-line littered with stars.

But Palacios is not just a hard worker off the ball, the 20-year-old also has the ability to influence on it. In his Primera Division appearances this season, the Argentine has averaged a pass accuracy of 80% while scoring one goal and recording one assist. Not one for the ‘Hollywood pass’ Palacios keeps his game simple but effective, moving the ball quickly around to pitch to help River Plate forward.

Is this the first ever Superclasico Copa Libertadores final?

Of the 246 official matches to have taken place between Boca Juniors and River Plate, 24 have come in the Copa Libertadores. However, prior to this year’s final, the latest a Superclasico has appeared in the competition was in 1978 and 2004 when the pair met in the semi-finals, with Boca Juniors advancing on both occasions.

The last time these two sides met in the Copa Libertadores, in 2015, the second leg had to be suspended at half-time after River Plate’s players were attacked with tear gas at La Bombonera. Boca Juniors were disqualified from the tournament and River Plate would go on to win the whole thing.

Why will there be no away fans?

Given the two-legged nature of the final, both teams are given home advantage for one match in the Copa Libertadores. And this year, home fans will be cheering on their teams unopposed with no away fans allowed in either leg.

The presidents of the two Buenos Aires club confirmed on Monday that away fans will not be allowed as it could “cause inconveniences”. But this is nothing new to the supporters as, for the past five years, away fans have been banned in Argentine football in hopes of reducing violence following a death – with the ban only recently being lifted.

Match preview

There may never be a more fiery affair in the final of the Copa Libertadores than the one fans are set to experience in 2018.

For the first time in the competition’s 58-year existence, the two-legged final to find out the best team in South America is a Superclasico.

Six-time Copa Libertadores champions Boca Juniors, also the most successful team in Argentina’s history, reached the final by beating Brazilian side Palmeiras in the semi-finals 4-2 on aggregate having previously overcome Cruzeiro and Libertad after finishing second in their group behind their semi-final opponents.

Meanwhile, River Plate beat Gremio in the semi-finals in slightly controversial circumstances, advancing on away goals thanks to an injury time penalty awarded by VAR for a contentious handball decision. After the match, referee Andres Cunha had to be protected by riot police from Gremio’s players, who were incensed at the decision.

Prior to the controversial semi-final, River Plate had beaten Argentinian sides Independiente and Racing in the knockout stages having topped their group, unbeaten.

Away fans will not be welcome at either of the legs in the final, understandably, as the competition tries to keep trouble in this fiery derby to a minimum.

Where can I watch live?

Boca’s game against River Plate can be viewed by UK residents on FreeSports for free, and BT Sport 2 channels 422 and 414 respectively on Sky and channels 553 and 532 respectively for Virgin Media users.

The game is also available to watch on fuboTV.

Head-to-head

Argentina’s biggest game has taken place an impressive 246 times over the years, 210 of which have come in the Argentine Primera Division. Boca Juniors boast the slight advantage over their bitter rivals with 88 wins to River Plate’s 81 while there have also been a massive 77 draws.

Boca Juniors wins: 88 Draws: 77 River Plate wins: 81

Team news

Boca Juniors will be without Frank Fabra, Lucas Olaza, and goalkeeper Esteban Andrada for the heated clash will all three dealing with injury problems, but should still be able to call upon the likes of Carlos Tevez and Mauro Zarate.

Meanwhile, River Plate will be missing Nicholas De La Cruz and Rodgrio Mora due to injuries.

Predicted Boca Juniors XI: Rossi; Jara, Izquierdoz, Magallan, Olaza; Gago, Barrios, Perez; Villa, Abila, Pavon.

Predicted River Plate XI:  Armani; Montiel, Maidana, Pinola, Casco; Palacios, Fernandez, Perez, Martinez; Pratto, Borre.

Squawka Prediction

Regardless of form, matches between Boca Juniors and River Plate are always hard to call and with it being the first leg, neither will want to give away too much to their rivals. Boca may just edge it though, 1-0.

Predictions & Betting Tips

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1. Over 7.5 Yellow cards @ 5/6

The Superclasico is always a fiery affair and the occasion of the Copa Libertadores final will only make it more heated between Boca and River Plate.

Despite the absence of away fans, players of both sides will feel the pressure and expectations of their support, with everything to play for and every 50/50 ready to be contested.

Tip: Over 7.5 Yellow cards @ 5/6 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (09/11/2018, 16:45)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

2. Boca Juniors to win @ 7/5

Neither Boca nor River have been great this season currently sitting mid-table in the Argentine Primera Division, with Boca two points ahead of their rivals though having played one game more.

Boca also go into the game having beat Tigre 4-1 at the weekend, while River lost 1-0 to Estudiantes. River may have come out on top when these sides met in September, but with a lot more on the line, Boca should edge the match.

Tip: Boca Juniors to win @ 7/5 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (09/11/2018, 16:45)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

3. Under 2.0 goals @ 4/6

It’s set to be a tight affair with both sides not wanting to give away too much and risk losing the tie before the second leg.

The last time these sides met in the Copa Libertadores, River Plate edged the first leg 1-0 before a 0-0 draw at half-time in the second leg preceded Boca Juniors’ disqualification.

Tip: Under 2.0 goals @ 4/6 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (09/11/2018, 16:45)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org