Boca Juniors were crowned Copa Argentina 2020-2021 champions on Wednesday night after squeezing past Talleres de Córdoba on penalties.
An uninspiring 0-0 draw preceded the drama at the Madre de Cities stadium in Santiago del Estero, with the Xeneize winning 5-4 in the shootout despite playing the final third of the game with 10 men.
Nevertheless, Boca can now celebrate a fourth Copa Argentina title, following wins in 1969, 2012 and 2015. It’s also the first title for new coach Sebastián Battaglia.
Before a crowd of around 30,000 people, both sides failed to get going, with Talleres holding more of the ball and Boca springing irregularly into life.
We deserved a joy like this, this group deserved to finish the year as champions. It is also for the fans, who follow us all year," said goalkeeper Agustín Rossi, who saved the decisive spot-kick from Talleres’ Héctor Fértoli.
Boca will host Central Cordoba this weekend before travelling to Saudi Arabia for a friendly against Spain's Barcelona in the new Copa Diego Maradona.
Gallardo to stay
River Plate coach and Millo hero Marcelo Gallardo cheered loyal supporters this week when he announced he would be staying at the club for another year.
The coach, who has led River through a glorious spell, lifting a host of titles along the way, called a press conference on Wednesday, sparking wild speculation that he was going to resign in order to take the vacant Uruguay national team post, following the sacking of veteran coach Oscar Tabárez.
Instead, Gallardo said he had made his decision and that he is going to stay another year.
"I had to think and decide what to do, and I choose to continue being here. It is a choice, beyond what I experienced and what I feel at this moment. It is worth it," said ‘El Muñeco.’
Gallardo, who took over River in mid-2014, saw his side romp to their first league title under his command just two weeks ago. Something of a cup specialist until now, the national top flight is the only one the coach needed to complete his set.
The coach’s decision to stay doesn’t mean there won’t be upheaval at River this year. Club President Rodolfo D’Onofrio (who brought Gallardo in as coach) and Sports Secretary Enzo Francescoli are departing, with Jorge Brito set to stake over at the top.
Gallardo's confirmed continuity will be a great cause for celebration for the River faithful, who have a one-off 'Trofeo de Campeones' tie against Colón de Santa Fe – who lifted the Copa de la Liga Profesional title back in June – to look forward to on December 18. And maybe with it, another title to add to the 13 they have won under the coach over the last seven-and-a-half years, including two Copa Libertadores wins.
Racing honour disappeared
Racing Club this week paid tribute to 45 fans who were disappeared and murdered by the 1976-1983 military dictatorship by restoring their membership status.
The initiative is the result of a project that the club launched on March 19, supported by artists, which probed the club’s historical archive. It revealed that many members had been “kidnapped, disappeared and murdered during the dictatorship," said the club.
A number of other sides in Argentina have launched similar campaigns, including Boca Juniors and River Plate.