Surprisingly, Argentina’s River-Boca Superclásico Reunites Fans

After over five years, River Plate and Boca Juniors fans shared the stands again in Córdoba, marking a historic moment of unity in one of soccer’s most intense rivalries.

Five years, four months, and twelve days had elapsed since the last time River Plate and Boca Juniors fans shared the stands together. That memorable day was in December 2018 at Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, during the most bizarre and unforgettable final in the history of both fan bases. River Plate, under the guidance of their most celebrated coach, Marcelo Gallardo, clinched their fourth Copa Libertadores title against their arch-rivals, Boca Juniors, in a neutral venue, creating an atmosphere of pure ecstasy for their fans and despair for their adversaries.

Passion Reignites: The Superclásico Returns

In Argentina, where passion permeates everything—especially soccer—the River-Boca clash is not just any derby; it’s the ‘Superclásico.’ The games are renowned for their intense on-field action and the fiery clashes among fans before, during, and after the matches.

During the Copa de la Liga quarterfinals, this intense rivalry was renewed on a Sunday in Córdoba, Argentina’s second-most populous city. It was a long-awaited reunion that completed the soccer festivity that a River-Boca duel guarantees.

León and Paco, two young supporters of River from Buenos Aires, embarked on a nearly 10-hour bus journey to witness this historic event. “It’s our first time seeing a match with both River and Boca fans present,” they shared with Agencia EFE, expressing confidence in their team and predicting a 3-0 victory for River, with goals expected from Facundo Colidio and Claudio’ Diablito’ Echeverri.

They added, “The atmosphere, the culture, everything about this classic is the best for any soccer fan in Argentina.”

Alfredo, a Jujuy native who has been a taxi driver in Córdoba for over a decade, emphasized the event’s significance for the city. “Experiencing something like this at the Kempes stadium is beautiful,” he remarked, predicting River’s 2-1 victory.

The history of soccer in Argentina is unfortunately marred by the violence of ‘barras bravas,’ leading to the 2013 prohibition of visiting fans following the death of a Lanús supporter near Estadio Único de La Plata. This match in Córdoba, therefore, held special significance as it saw the return of both fan bases to the stands, a rare occurrence in recent years.

Unity Amidst Rivalry: Fans’ Optimism

Sergio and Valentina, Boca fans who flew in from Mendoza, were thrilled about the two fan bases coming together. “It’s been a long time since this happened. We think it will be a beautiful event,” they told Agencia EFE, confidently predicting a 2-0 win for Boca with goals from Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani.

Throughout the weekend, especially on the day of the match, the heart of Córdoba transformed. The city’s iconic landmarks, like the Church of the Sacred Heart and Las Heras-Elisa Park, were adorned in the colors of the competing teams—yellow and blue for Boca, red and white for River. The atmosphere was predominantly joyful and peaceful, a sentiment the President of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, had hoped to instill with his message: “We are rivals, not enemies.”

As match time approached, fans gradually went to the stadium named after Mario Alberto Kempes, the star of Argentina’s 1978 World Cup-winning team. Precautions were still in place, with River fans entering through one gate and Boca fans through another, setting the stage for passionate support for their teams.

The chants began, reminding each side why their club was superior. Boca fans referenced River’s painful relegation in 2011, while River supporters savored their 2018 Libertadores triumph over Boca—the most significant Superclásico of all time.

Also read: The Unique Charm of the Argentina Open: Where Tennis Meets Local Culture and New Heroes Emerge

Córdoba did not just host a soccer match; it hosted a ‘Superfiesta,’ a celebration of sport, unity, and the enduring spirit of Argentine soccer. This game was more than just a quarterfinal; it was a testament to the power of sport to unite people, transcending historical rivalries and past animosities. The River-Boca reunion in Córdoba is a beacon of hope for the future, illustrating that even the fiercest of rivals can come together to celebrate their love for the beautiful game.

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