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Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores: titles, participations, finals...

The Argentine giants are taking over 100,000 supporters to Saturday’s final in Rio and dreaming of a seventh Libertadores triumph.

Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores: titles, participations, finals...

All eyes next Saturday will be firmly fixed on Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium as the iconic ground hosts the 2023 Copa Libertadores final between Fluminense and Boca Juniors. The Brazilian team will have a slight advantage of playing at home against the Argentinian side looking to secure their seventh title, with a win set to see the Xeneizes draw level with Independiente who hold the overall record with seven Libertadores triumphs.

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El Tricolor from Rio are looking for their first ever title having only progressed to this stage once in their history ending up with a runners up medal after losing to LDU Quito in the 20028 final.

Whist the Argentines come into the game as slight favourites, the heavy weight of expectation will also play on the minds of the blue and gold clad players as they take to the pitch on Saturday with more than 100,000 Boca supporters expected to descend on the Brazilian city ahead of the final and many younger fans not around when the club last lifted the title in 2007.

Boca fans
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Boca Juniors and the Libertadores

Boca has won the Copa Libertadores on six occasions (1977, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007). The club can also boast two Copa Sudamericana wins in 2004 and 2005 and the Recopa on four occasions.

But for a club with the motto of “50 & 1″ suggesting that more than 50% of the Argentine people support the Buenos Aires based outfit, a drought of no Copa Libertadores wins in over 15 years is too long for a club of their stature.

The desire to win a seventh title is also accentuated by the rivals of the last final defeat.

La Bombonera stadium
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The 2018 final

In the 2018 final, the draw pitted a ‘Superclasico’ final as the side from La Bombonera faced their rivals River Plate from the leave Nuñez neighbourhood of the Argentine capital.

The first leg of the game was originally delayed by 24 hours after a delhue made the pitch at La Bombonera unplayable. The following day, both teams played out a 2-2 draw ahead of the second leg at El Monumental.

25 November (2018) is remembered in Buenos Aires as a day of shame. With the eyes of the world watching, the Boca Juniors team bus was stoned by local River fans and subsequent pepper spray employed by the local police led to the Boca players refusing to play given injuries to the squad and the emotional trauma of the experience.

CONMEBOL eventually moved the second leg to Madrid and River lifted the cup in unusual surroundings with the Libertadores final being staged at the Santiago Bernabeu with ‘Los Millionarios’ running out 3-1 winners on the night.ç

As of the 2019 season, and as a measure against the scenes that were witnessed in the Argentine capital ahead of the River-Boca second leg, CONMEBOL decreed that the final would be a one off game (as opposed to a two legged affair) at a neutral final venue that would be established ahead of the tournament.

Boca Juniors: Copa Libertadores finals

1963: Santos 2-1 Boca Juniors

1977: Boca Juniors 0-0 Cruzeiro (Boca win on pens)

1978: Boca Juniors 4-0 Deportivo Cali (agg)

1979: Olimpia 2-0 Boca Juniors (agg)

2000: Boca Juniors 2-2 Palmeiras (agg, Boca win on pens)

2001: Boca Juniors 1-1 Cruz Azul (agg, Boca win on pens)

2003: Boca Juniors 5-1 Santos (agg)

2004: Once Caldas 1-1 Boca Juniors (agg, Once Caldas win on pens)

2007: Boca Juniors 5-0 Gremio (agg)

2012: Corinthians 3-1 Boca Juniors (agg)

2018: River Plate 5-3 Boca Juniors (agg)