Nicolás Miremont –
The recent friendly, between the Mexican club Club Deportivo Guadalajara, better known as Chivas, and the Argentine giants Boca Juniors, marks a good time to explore the historical connection between the two clubs. Chivas vs Boca was indeed a fascinating affair, and that was without considering the historical background of the game.
The friendly took place yesterday as part of Boca’s improvised pre-season extension. The match had to be arranged in record time because the Argentinian league was in risk of being delayed for political reasons.
Chivas vs Boca was labelled the Duelo de Gigantes (the duel of giants), the game took place in Guadalajara with pay-per-view streaming being the only legitimate broadcasting source—something Boca and Argentine fans do not seem to embrace much, and was therefore met with some disgruntlement in Argentina.
The test was perfect for head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and his twin brother Gustavo, however, as it provided them with a chance to test their team against a top rival from a top league, in their quest to effectively defend the top spot in the table once the season kicks off in Argentina (whenever that date is). The Mexicans also showed enthusiasm for the match.
Facing such a prestigious rival is a proper challenge and is important especially as the Mexican Liga MX has left the Copa Libertadores this year. Furthermore, Matías Almeyda, a River Plate legend, now coaches Chivas and continues to be motivated to beat his former rivals.
The prestige that is immediately associated with both Chivas and Boca Juniors is certainly beyond question. In fact, Chivas de Guadalajara and Boca Juniors were the two teams that sold the most jerseys during 2016 in America, according to Euromericas Sport Marketing. The game, therefore, was not only a valuable test, but also a great marketing opportunity for two of the most popular clubs of Latin America, and beyond.
Chivas vs Boca – A troubled affair
However, one of the latest records of an encounter between the two clubs takes us to one of the darkest and most remembered days in Boca Juniors’ international history: The year 2005 was in full swing and Boca were ready to fight for yet another Copa Libertadores. Having won three out of the previous five matches, the Argentine side stood as the favourites against a difficult yet not impossible Chivas side, in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores.
As soon as they took to the pitch, however, things took a downward turn for the powerful Boca line-up. Martín Palermo, Raúl Cascini, Daniel “Cata” Díaz and Marcelo Delgado were all absolutely destroyed by the Mexicans who slotted four goals at home in the first leg.
Two weeks later, things had heated up drastically and a full Bombonera was almost boiling in a mixture of anger and anxiety, one of the worst combinations known to the human race. At that point, even the slightest provocation would have been enough to unleash a chaotic response in the mythical stadium that was obviously filled with a considerable number of violent ultras.
With the first half gone, Boca could not find the net and the pressure was rising as they could feel the 90th minute upon them. It was at this stage that Chivas striker Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista showed off cheeky pieces of skill every time he got the ball. Bad idea, mate.
Bautista’s display was the perfect excuse for Boca to show their anger against the striker (because they had been punishing him since the beginning of the game). Although at first it looked like a standard display of South American football folklore, it soon turned into a scandalous skirmish.
Bautista got fouled near the sideline. Cascini ran toward him and pushed him using his chest. In response, Bautista taunted Cascini by declared their nearly achieved semi-final stage and, with a less-than-subtle move, showed four fingers to the crowd. The behavior was not accepted by Martín Palermo, who started chasing him all over the pitch as the supporters screamed in frustration as they were not able to reach the Mexican themselves. The referee decided to send both players off, but the troubles had just begun.
As the match resumed, the policemen in charge of Bautista’s protection as he left the pitch only did half their job. They formed a solid shield above the player’s head, however, when taking him off they took the longest path and ridiculously dashed in front of the main stand and also right next to Boca’s bench.
Inevitably, countless things were thrown at the striker and (perhaps the most embarrassing part of the anecdote) Boca’s manager Jorge Benítez spat at Bautista’s face as he ran past him. After they managed to reach the tunnel, a couple of violent individuals jumped over the barricade and tried to punch Bautista. Things rapidly got out of control from that point, and the match was suspended after Chivas’ goalkeeper was hit by several projectiles, when he was tried to retake his place underneath the three posts.
Some hours later, Benítez claimed that he could not recall the incident with Bautista, suggesting that perhaps he “had taken a pill which might have made him forget about such episode”. He lost his job afterwards.
The Brazilian club Atlético Paranaense then eliminated Guadalajara in the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores. At the same time Guadalajara’s thumping performance against Boca was one of the highlights of the tournament and now, 12 years later, the combatants have met again to relive one of the most storied matches of Copa Libertadores history.
Chivas vs Boca – Match report from Guadalajara
Chivas vs Boca kicked off at the Estadio Chivas in front of a decent crowd. The external highlight of the match came from Chivas’ supporters, who displayed dozens of flags all over the stands despite a league regulation requiring them to ask for express permission due to the risk of the flags being used as weapons. But, in this case, the display was even encouraged by the club authorities, which made the mischief look even funnier.
During the first half, Boca showed the usual dominance against a Chivas side that clearly had some trouble when having to track back and close down gaps. This made the Argentines look a bit more superior, although the game was balanced during the majority of the first half. An attacking mentality settled in both sides’ minds and raised the speed of the game as both Boca and Chivas, for the most part, displayed quick counter-attacks, perfect one-twos, and well-constructed plays.
After 45 minutes, the whistle was blown and in came the half-time show—no Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars this time, unfortunately, although we got to see a very entertaining Mariachi number.
The second half was more balanced. Fatigue and the altitude of Guadalajara were already playing a part in the game and forced both managers to make alterations within their squad.
Barros Schelotto chose to replace an agile Centurión for WIlmar Barrios, a defensive midfielder, probably looking to defend the dominance he had achieved. His counterpart, Almeyda, did the same thing, however, he first dealt with the mess he had at the back.
The first goal of the game came in the 67th minute after Walter Bou reached a perfect cross delivered by Fernando Gago. Nearly ten minutes later, during the 75th minute, Chivas had had a good number of chances that they did not capitalise on, until a cross was poorly cleared by Boca’s defender Santiago Vergini. His left foot only changed the direction of the ball and sent it right to the feet of Alan Pulido, who scored (after having been sent to the game only a couple of minutes earlier).
After Chivas equalised, the game pretty much entered a stage of caution where both teams attacked only when absolutely necessary. However, the game maintained its pace and the battle in the middle heated up rapidly, with Pablo Pérez being hit by Edwin Hernández after Pérez recklessly challenged him with his boot raised. The minutes passed and both teams showed that they wanted to win the match. After a couple of decent interventions by the keepers, the game went to penalties where Chivas won 5-3 after Vergini missed the third penalty for Boca in what will be a night to forget for the Argentine centre back.
Chivas vs Boca – Lineups:
Chivas de Guadalajara: Rodolfo Cota; Edwin Hernández, Carlos Salcido, Oswaldo Alanís, Jesús Sánchez; Edson Torres, Orbelín Pineda, Eduardo López, Mauro Contreras; Ángel Zaldívar, Carlos Cisneros.
Boca Juniors: Axel Werner; Gino Peruzzi, Santiago Vergini, Lisandro Magallán, Jonathan Silva; Pablo Pérez, Fernando Gago, Ricardo Centurión; Fernando Zuqui, Walter Bou, Cristian Pavón.
Minute 67: Walter Bou (Boca Juniors)
Minute 75: Alan Pulido (Chivas)
Overall, the duel of giants Chivas vs Boca served as a good test for both teams at the start of their respective seasons. The media factor also played a major role, as Chivas made full use of their Chivas TV virtual platform. Talks are already underway for a rematch in Argentina. This sort of event is a step in the right direction in the exhausting task of improving Argentine football.
Nicolás Miremont is a born and raised Boca Juniors fan, but his heart has a special place for Manchester United, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Dynamo Kiev. Miremont loves to support the underdogs. Miremont enjoys watching smaller competitions especially those from Eastern Europe, but also his native Argentina. Follow him on Twitter @Miremont_Nico