This past weekend’s Boca Juniors-River Plate match WAS to feature the second leg of the tied South American Liberators Cup Final (SA equivalent of the UEFA Champions League Final). Things went all wrong as River Plate’s stadium (Monumental) was full waiting for Boca players to arrive when Plate fans launched an attack on the Boca bus, rendering several key Boca players unable to play.
After much political wrangling,. the match was delayed a day (Imagine cancelling the Super Bowl at the last minute, and asking everyone to come back the next day); then postponed the day after when it was deemed Boca was not ready to compete. Now, the leg has been moved top Qatar due to safety reasons.
To further put this into context, arguably, there is no bigger rivalry in soccer than this. One would be hard pressed to find two such large soccer clubs in the same city that are such big rivals. In addition, it has taken 127 years for both teams to end up in the South American Heavyweight Championship.
For that reason, this match was named “El Finalissimo”, “The Final to End All Finals” so you can imagine the tension in Buenos Aires as the 2nd leg approached. I somehow think moving the game 9,000 miles away will dull this hence my “WAS” as in “would have been”.
When I use the term “showdown”, there needs to be some drama, and the appearance the two combatants have not faced before, at least in the context they are battling for.
Are there even bigger showdowns in sports? Ali-Frazier? I know Connor v Floyd got a lot of play last year, but was that really a “showdown” or more of a publicity stunt? Maybe Conner MacGregor v Khabib?
New England v Seattle in the Super Bowl?
The first time Alabama met Clemson in the NCAAF Championship?
Canada v USA for the hockey Gold Medal in Vancouver at the Olympics?
You tell me!