BUENOS AIRES - Martin Palermo's Boca
Juniors and their bitter enemies River Plate are braced for a
piquant 'Superclasico' at the Bombonera on Sunday.
With violence in Argentine football always close to the
surface and after Velez Sarsfield's Fortin stadium was closed
this week because fans fired flares at their match on Monday,
there will be 1,200 police officers on duty.
Boca's all-time record scorer Palermo is determined to bow
out in style in his last Superclasico before retiring amid
requests from fans to play on. One fan gave him a home made
banner on Wednesday saying: "You came out of a fairytale to go
"I hope I can give them a goal," Palermo, who went 10 games
without scoring from the beginning of the championship but is
now on a run of three goals in as many games, told reporters.
The atmosphere at the Superclasico amid constant chanting,
drum beating and smoke bombs, is unrivalled, especially at
Boca's tight Bombonera ground.
Sunday's game has the added zest of a Boca win possibly
tipping River into the promotion playoff berths despite their
joint third place in the Clausura table. River have a poor
three-season points average in the relegation standings.
In River's favour, Palermo will come up against one of the
toughest defences in the championship.
River, who have conceded eight goals in 13 matches and are
unbeaten away, have been built to defend and counter-attack in a
break with tradition many of their fans are unhappy about but
understand with top flight survival a priority.
Former Boca defender Jonatan Maidana should be fit to play
after nursing his left knee and ankle all week having twisted
them in last weekend's 2-0 home defeat by All Boys.
Maidana, who scored the last goal in a Superclasico when
River beat Boca 1-0 at home in the Apertura championship in the
first half of the season, said: "It would be lovely to score
Uruguayan left-back Juan Manuel Diaz is also back from
suspension so River are at full strength all round with
midfielder Walter Acevedo also returning from injury.
River will also be wary of Juan Roman Riquelme, still the
stand-out player in the Argentine league along with Estudiantes
captain Juan Sebastian Veron.
Danger-man Riquelme has helped steady Boca, top scoring with
four goals, three with free-kicks, after their poor start to the
championship. They are 10th, unbeaten in four matches, four
points below River and nine behind leaders Velez Sarsfield.
However, River's Argentina international goalkeeper Juan
Pablo Carrizo has been a key factor in their measly rearguard
and Riquelme said: "It's not going to be easy to score a goal
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