COPA DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA
Boca Juniors 2
Newell’s Old Boys 0
🏟️ La Bombonera, Buenos Aires
On an emotional night in Buenos Aires, it was the current champions of Argentina who came out on top as Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys remembered a man who had played for both clubs – the late Diego Armando Maradona.
Before the match began, Newell’s captain Maxi Rodríguez walked his team onto the pitch holding Maradona’s Newell’s shirt in his hand.
Both teams wore Argentina shirts with Maradona’s image on it and after a minute’s applause, the match got underway at a windy La Bombonera.
Boca Juniors started on the front foot and it took them just 11 minutes to open the scoring with Edwin Cardona’s free-kick from the edge of the box beating Newell’s keeper Ramiro Macagno.
Things went from bad to worse for the visiting side as key attacking threat Ignacio Scocco went off injured just two minutes later.
On 19 minutes, Cardona grabbed his second for a relentless Boca, leaving Newell’s defender Fabricio Fontanini on his back and slotting through the legs of Macagno. At this stage, it looked like Newell’s would have to dig deep to prevent being on the wrong end of a cricket score.
After going two down, there were signs of a Newell’s fight back when Maxi Rodríguez try to chip Esteban Andrada from outside the box. His shot landed on the roof of the net. That was the peak of Newell’s attacking efforts in the first half, a half that ended with La Lepra going down to ten men after Angelo Gabrielli received his second yellow card.
Boca Juniors should have gone three up shortly after the second-half started.
Anibal Moreno, who was moved to right-back after Gabrielli’s dismissal, punched the ball when defending a cross in a bizarre moment of madness.
The referee awarded a penalty without hesitation.
However, Boca target man Ramon Abíla made a complete mess of the penalty, firing over the bar aimlessly.
The rest of the game played out without any major incidents as Newell’s tried to keep the score down, occasionally hitting Boca on the counter without success.
After the final whistle was blown, the Boca Juniors players clapped Diego Maradona’s daughter Dalma, who was watching the match from his box at La Bombonera.
This result leaves Newell’s Old Boys at the bottom of Group 4 in the Copa Diego Armando Maradona and no matter what happens in the remaining fixtures, they will play in the “Losers” stage of the competition, fighting it out with other 3rd and 4th placed sides for a spot in the Copa Sudamericana.
It remains to be seen whether the club will consider the poor performance in this competition as a “once-off” and give Frank Kudelka more time to build confidence within the squad. There is a feeling amongst Newell’s fans that this is potentially a better team than the one which impressed under Kudelka last season to qualify for the Copa Sudamericana.
Newell’s were unlucky to find themselves in the Group of Death but the performances against Talleres certainly were below par and they struggled against Boca, losing home and away. In contrast, they had gained two draws against the Bosteros in the previous two seasons.