The biggest derby in Argentina and perhaps the most intense rivalry in world football returns on Sunday. For the first time in 17 months, Boca Juniors and River Plate face off in the Argentine Primera.
For the first time in 17 months, River Plate and Boca Juniors will meet at the Monumental on Sunday afternoon. Perhaps the most intense derby in world football, Argentina's Super Clasico, has been put on hold for the longest time in its history due to River's stunning relegation. The return of the match signals a real return to normalcy for River, who won't feel all the way back to their previous stature until they beat their closest rivals.
Neither team is in the title race, with Boca trailing Newell's Old Boys by eight points and River trailing by 11, but both teams are in contention for Copa Libertadores places. While it might sting both at the end of the year if they fail to make the tournament, that won't be on their minds on Sunday. No matter what, if there is an outright winner on Sunday, that team will feel like their Apertura was a successful one.
Both teams are fairly fit and should have close to their best teams on the pitch. River are without Jonathan Maidana, and could potential be without Gabriel Mercado, who wants to play on an injured knee. Boca will be without the services of Pablo Ledesma due to injury.
Boca have struggled to create goals without Juan Roman Riquelme, who left the club at the end of last season, and will hope that one of the players they've played in the No. 10 role can step up for the Clasico. Leandro Paredes, an 18-year-old rising star, got a start last week but came out at halftime. River's rotating band of strikers has also disappointed, but they have the talent up top to start scoring at any point.
Game date/time: 2:30 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. local
Venue: Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina
TV: GolTV (U.S.), Canal 7 (Argentina)