Agony or ecstasy: River Plate-Boca Juniors second leg has no middle ground

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For the first leg of the historic Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate, one Argentine radio station hit upon an interesting idea for its transmission: The commentators maintained a calm tone of voice, while soothing music played in the background and there cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale were frequent spots informing listeners how to get in touch with a cardiologist.

More of the same will be needed for Saturday's return game, with the difference being that this time there are no second chances. At the end of 90 minutes -- perhaps 120, maybe even penalties -- one of these Buenos Aires teams will have won the biggest battle in the history of a desperately intense footballing rivalry; the other will withdraw to lick its wounds and prepare itself for years of taunting.4

The tie could not be closer after the first leg finished as a 2-2 draw, especially because the away goals rule is not in operation for the final and so neither team has an advantage to defend. The game, then, will be a test of incentives: Do you go out and seek to win or play tight and try not to lose, perhaps sneaking a goal on the break?

More of the same quality of the first game, on Nov. 10, would be welcome. It was an open encounter, full of ebb and flow, and has since been recreated using Lego. The level of tension and drama in the return match means it might have to be recreated with a mixture of UFC and opera!cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Much of the credit for the flowing nature of the opening leg, which took place at Boca's Bombonera, must go to River coach Marcelo Gallardo, who surprised both with his tactical formation of three centre-backs and usual left winger Gonzalo Martinez in a central role, as well as his bold approach.

The return from injury of veteran holding midfielder Leo Ponzio for Saturday is a boost and could inspire Gallardo to attack more. However, his quickest striker, Rafael Santos Borre, is suspended, and a natural substitute, Nacho Scocco, is a major injury doubt. With a potential lack of attacking mobility, one solution might be to push Martinez further forward.

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