Boca Juniors v Newell’s Old Boys
Copa Diego Armando Maradona
29th November 2020
🏟️ La Bombonera, Buenos Aires
This time last week, the visit of Newell’s Old Boys to La Bombonera was being talked about as La Lepra’s last chance to try and force their way into the top two places in Group 4 of the Copa Liga de Profesional.
That is still the case, but the match has taken on a completely new narrative due to the death of Diego Armando Maradona. In fact, the competition has already been renamed in his honour.
Maradona played for both clubs. He made his name at Boca Juniors, transferring there from his childhood club Argentinos Juniors while he joined Newell’s Old Boys towards the end of his career after spending 9 years in Europe.
He adored both clubs and both clubs adored him.
There is a sense of fate at play considering that two of the three clubs that Maradona played for in Argentina are now scheduled to meet in the round of games preceding his death.
Without the COVID-19 pandemic, this would have been an almighty occasion in the stadium with nearly 55,000 fans packed into La Bombonera to pay a passionate tribute to the departed icon as two of his former clubs went head-to-head.
Instead, the stadium will be empty and the commemoration a little more subtle but an emotional spectacle is expected on Sunday night when Newell’s take to the field against Boca Juniors.
Boca v Newell’s Team News
Naturally, most of Frank Kudelka’s press conference on Thursday focused on the loss of Maradona, with Kudelka going as far as to say that he was only attending it because was required to. He clearly wasn’t in the right state to talk to the press about the match, so soon after receiving bad news.
For fans of Newell’s, he did bring good news however, confirming that defenders Santiago Gentiletti and Mariano Bíttolo were available. Gentiletti missed last week’s draw with Talleres with an injury while Bíttolo went off injured in the first half of that game, after providing an assist for Maxi Rodríguez’s opener.
Midfielder Julián Fernández is expected to be restored to the first-team following his recover from COVID-19.
Boca’s captain Carlos Tévez, who scored against Newell’s in the home fixture at Estadio Marcelo Bielsa a few weeks ago, will miss the game due to compassionate reasons. He was close to Maradona and his father is also unwell.
Boca’s key player Eduardo Salvio, who has scored 5 goals in this season’s Copa Libertadores, is also out, having not fully recovered from an injury.
📺 Watch Boca v Newell’s on Sunday 29 November: Live on Fanatiz
⏰ Kick-off: 19.20 ARG | 22.20 UK (Tuesday)