* Varela’s right hand that pierced Cali’s resistance
Boca Juniors closed the semester with a goal fulfilled: it won 1-0 Deportivo Cali by the last date of Group E of the Copa Libertadores and advanced to the round of 16 as the leader of their zonebenefited by the surprising draw and Corinthians (remained as an escort) before Always Ready in Brazil. Alan Varela he converted the only goal of the match at the start of the complement: the host was much superior throughout 60 minutes, then he slowed down and his nerves ruled him a little, but the key victory was practically never at risk.
With the push that gave them the title in the League Cup against Tigre, and the urgency of victory to continue in the competition, Xeneize came out with everything in La Bombonera. Dominating with authority, without allowing a Colombian team to react that pressed just in the middle of the field, but uncoordinated. Boca recharged the game on the left wing, with Romero and an inspired Changuito Zeballos, who broke every time he tried.
Thus, he generated a bunch of deep arrivals, but without aim. At 5 minutes, an individual action by the man from Santiago ended in a shot with a goal, but it deflected into a rival. At 9 it was the Paraguayan Romero who gave the goalkeeper a job. At 11, Varela broke a post. At 17, after another run by Zeballos and a short rejection, Pol Fernández once again made De Amores shine. And at 22, after a perfect corner from Romero, Figal headed over the crossbar.
The auriazul domain continued to be full. Only at 32 ′ did Cali manage to breathe, with a solitary attempt by Jhon Vásquez, which ended in a dangerous center that Rossi rejected. However, after a lull in intensity, the siege returned. At 42, Izquierdoz won with a header, but his header was barely wide. And at minute 45, Zeballos launched a low center, Benedetto was ahead at the near post, and De Amores endorsed why he was the great figure of the first half.
Boca’s search found its well-deserved prize at 9 minutes of complement. After a free throw, the goalkeeper rejected short with his fists and Varela tried again. His shot covered De Amores, who passed the ball under his body. Celebrated 1-0 for the homeowner.
Perhaps because of the wear and tear carried out so far, perhaps because of the fear of losing what he had achieved, Battaglia chose to repeat the change implemented in the final in Córdoba and made Ramírez, a midfielder, enter for Salvio. And the tactical movement spoke of the retreat in the field. Although Cali didn’t overwhelm him, the open result allowed him to believe, even in the face of his lack of depth.
To this we must add that the owner of the house did not know how to conclude the kickbacks. On the other hand, nerves almost give Colombians equality. At 86, after a rushed transfer, Teo Gutiérrez cleaned the ball and Harold Mosquera forced Rossi’s save.
It was the only hot flash for a Bombonera that celebrated twice: the title in the League Cup and the passage as group leader to the round of 16 (with 10 points, one more than Corinthians and two more than Deportivo Cali, which will continue its international transit in the South American Cup). Bonus track: the team once again exhibited sustained growth in their game. And again he held the fence to zero. Data that fuels the illusion of the Xeneizes to raise the Libertadores again as in 2007.
Boca Juniors: Agustin Rossi; Nicolás Figal, Carlos Izquierdoz, Marcos Rojo, Frank Fabra; Pol Fernandez, Alan Varela, Oscar Romero; Eduardo Salvio, Darío Benedetto and Exequiel Zeballos. DT: Sebastian Battaglia.
Deportivo Cali: William Of Amores; Aldair Gutierrez, William Burdisso, Jose Caldera and Christian Mafia; Edgard Camargo and Yimmy Congo; Jhon Vasquez, Theophilus Gutierrez and Kevin Velasco; Yony Gonzalez. DT: Rafael Dudamel.
Referee: Piero Maza (Chile)
Estadio: The Bombonera