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May 5, 2013

River, Boca draw amid looming violence

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- River Plate and Boca Juniors drew 1-1 draw Sunday in what is known as the "Superclasico," a result that helped neither club and left Boca winless in a record 11 consecutive league matches.

River Plate's Manuel Lanzini scored with a header after only 45 seconds and Santiago Silva equalized in the 39th minute before a sellout crowd at Boca's La Bombonera stadium.

The match was stopped for 15 minutes in the second half when fans set off fireworks, tossed flares at players on the field, and climbed a steel fence separating the stands from the pitch. Security forces responded, pounding fans with a high-pressure water hose in another example of the relentless violence that threatens almost every major match in the South American country.

No injuries were immediately reported.

River improved to 22 points from 12 matches, four behind leader Lanus. Boca has only 10 points, leaving it near the bottom of the standings and raising questions about the future of coach Carlos Bianchi.

Lanzini scored his header from a perfect cross from Carlos Sanchez. Silva equalized slotting home from 12 meters (yards) from a pass from Walter Erviti.

In another match on Sunday, Independiente defeated Tigre 2-0.

On Monday, All Boys played Estudiantes and Arsenal was against Newell's. Newell's could take sole possession of first place with a victory.

River Plate coach Ramon Diaz and Boca's Bianchi each took over five months ago. Diaz, the former River striker in his third stint as coach, has his team playing reasonably well. Bianchi, also in his third stint, is struggling. He had been away from the game since 2006 when he left Spain's Atletico Madrid and many are suggesting the game may have passed him by.

Boca's draw on Sunday came just four days after it defeated Brazilian club Corinthians 1-0 in a first-leg match in the final round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores. Corinthinans defeated Boca in last year's title game.

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