Watching River Plate out there parading the trophy, I thought of Alfredo Di Stéfano, who I saw taste success so many times on the same pitch. He was a River youth product, so it was perhaps fitting that they should win the Libertadores at a stadium that owes them so much. It capped a final played in an electric atmosphere, in which a nine-man, never-say-die Boca Juniors went down fighting, throwing the kitchen sink at River late on. Madrid proved a worthy stage for this special occasion, excelling itself with its record-time organisation of the event. All in all, it was an unforgettable day, both for those who travelled from afar to be here, and for those of us who had this early Christmas present plonked right in our backyard.
Fine Benedetto finish gives Boca half-time lead
The match had begun as expected: intense, full-blooded and with neither side about to take any risks. River took better care of the ball but popped it about to little effect, probing for an opening that they could not find. Whenever Boca got hold of it, they bypassed the midfield and zealously raced towards their opponents' area. Half time was approaching when Esteban Andrada lost the ball outside his box and sparked panic among his colleagues; however, Boca were fortunate to see River fail to capitalise, and indeed commit so many men forward that they were caught on a break launched by Nahitan Nández. Darío Benedetto took full advantage of his sublime pass, slicing between the centre-backs and coolly slotting home.