- Stage is set for mouth-watering Copa Libertadores final
- Rivals River and Boca to go head to head, Club World Cup berth on the line
- Look back at famous Superclásico Copa clashes ahead of the duel
The final of the 2018 Copa Libertadores, which will see Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors go head to head in the first leg on Saturday, will bring South America to a halt. It is the first time the two old enemies have met to decide who will win the competition. The winners will also have a very special prize awaiting them: a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018.
The Superclásico rivals have met 24 times in South America’s premier club competition since first locking horns in 1966, with Boca claiming ten wins, River seven and the other seven matches ending in draws. Some of those matches proved crucial to one or the other kicking on to win the coveted trophy.
Setting the scene for one of the biggest ever finals in the history of club football, FIFA.com looks back at four of those historic meetings.
River 0-2 Boca, 1978
River, Boca and Atletico Mineiro of Brazil were drawn into one of two three-team groups that would decide who would contest the final. Los Xeneizes went into the game, held at River’s Estadio Monumental, with a two-point lead over Los Millonarios, who had to win to force a play-off. Adding even more spice to the occasion was that the fact that Boca coach Juan Carlos Lorenzo and his River counterpart Angel Labruna had clashed over the make-up of the Argentina squad that had won the FIFA World Cup™ on home soil earlier that year, which contained five River players and none from Boca.
The visitors won courtesy of goals from Ernesto Heber Mastrangelo and Carlos Salinas. “I always knocked River out of the Libertadores. I scored every time we faced each other,” said Mastrangelo, who played for both clubs, years later.
What happened next?
Defending champions Boca, who also lifted the Intercontinental Cup in 1977, beat Deportivo Cali of Colombia to win their second Libertadores in a row.