After two years in which only Brazilian teams got to the final match, the Copa Libertadores is back in Argentina, the country with most titles in the history of the competition (21), followed by Brazil with a distant 13 triumphs.
This is Boca's fourth Copa Libertadores title in this decade alone and they are now just one short of Independiente (also from Argentina with 7) in the list of teams with more silverware in the history of this competition.
There were many differences between the two sides in a contest that was already decided in the first leg with a clear 3-0 win by the Buenos Aires outfit.
But the main factor in the decision of this two-legged final was non-other than Juan Román RIQUELME.
He scored one and participated in the other two goals last week in La Bombonera and tonight he was simply too much for Gremio. He controlled the game at will. He always played the ball safe. And to cap it all, he scored both goals in the game.
The first one was a screamer from the edge of the box. A typical RIQUELME shot, towards the far post and giving the Gremio keeper, Argentine Sebastián SAJA, no chance at all.
Then he capitalized on a rebound given by SAJA after a Rodrigo PALACIO's shot and scored his third overall goal in Copa Libertadores finals.
In his previous two titles (2000, 2001) he only scored a goal in each of the penalty shoot-outs.
Martín PALERMO wasted a golden chance to make it 3-0 by missing a penalty kick in which he didn't even hit towards the goal! Remember Copa America against Colombia and his three penalty misses?
Not that Boca fans really cared about that. They already had the cup in their hands and they are the best team in our continent.
A couple of little things to add...
It was mentioned by the Brazilian TV (O Globo), during the game, that RIQUELME is being closely followed by Juventus as they look to improve their team to start the next Serie A season.
In finals decided between Argentine and Brazilian teams, the advantage is for the Albicelestes as they won 8 out of a possible 11 titles!
Congratulations to Boca Juniors and what I always say...I hope RIQUELME plays for Argentina at least a 10% of what he shows for Boca.
If that's the case, come COCO's list, I'll be looking forward to see his name there. But only if he tries REALLY hard.