Boca Juniors x River Plate: A Childhood Memory from a Classic Football Derby

This commentary originally appeared in The Amoias of the Americas.

My cousin, Oscar R. Amoia, grew up in Buenos Aires near the Boca district. He has supported his beloved Club Atletico Boca Juniors for his entire life. He had a very distinct memory of one of the most famous derbies in the world. He was only six years of age in 1962, but the game was still imbued upon his memory. He wrote this a few years ago for our site, and we would like to share it with you.

It is called, “The Penalty of the Championship.”



EL PENAL DEL CAMPEONATO: Boca v. River Plate por Oscar R. Amoia

Terminaba el año 1962, en ese momento en Argentina se jugaba un solo campeonato de fútbol que iba de marzo a diciembre, Boca no salía campeón desde 1954 y esto tenía a todo el pueblo boquense muy ansioso y expectante. En octubre de ese año yo había cumplido apenas 6 años. En la penúltima fecha del campeonato Boca debía recibir a River Plate (su eterno rival) en la Bombonera y ambos estaban en la primera posición de la tabla del torneo, cabe recordar que en aquellos años el ganador de un partido ganaba 2 puntos y el empate reportaba 1 punto. Es decir que en ese partido se jugaba el campeonato, era una verdadera final.

Era la época en que en Argentina, especialmente en Boca y River, habían desembarcado muchos futbolistas extranjeros especialmente brasileños. En Boca los más destacados eran Orlando, un número 6 de categoría, y Paulo Valentim, un número 9 y goleador de raza que volvió locos a los riverplatenses en cada partido que tuvieron que soportarlo. Aún suena en mis oidos el grito de la hinchada con el famoso canto de aquellas épocas.”Tin, tin, tin…Gol de Valentim”.

Ese día La Bombonera estaba absolutamente repleta, el partido fue no apto para cardiacos, Boca se puso en ventaja con un gol de penal de Valentim y ya era practicamente campeón…pero a escasos minutos para terminar el partido el arbitro cobró penal para River. En esa situación se jugaba todo.

El arquero de Boca era Antonio Roma, también arquero de la selección argentina y toda una seguridad en el arco. El encargado de patear el penal de River fue Delem, un brasileño virtuoso y, como todo brasileño, de muy buena pegada. El estadio estaba en un silencio sepulcral, el corazón de todos los que estábamos allí presentes latía desesperadamente…los segundos parecían eternos, yo miraba a mi padre y a mi alrededor, contagiándome de ese ambiente de ansiedad y nerviosismo.

El arco era el que da espaldas al grueso de la hinchada de Boca, es decir que el brasileño tenía a la toda esa multitud de frente. Y allí fue Delem…dio algunos pasos y pateó a la derecha de Roma quien se zambulló y rechazó la pelota a un costado. Aún hoy llevo en mis ojos la imagen de ese momento, aún hoy me emociono de pensar en aquello…el griterío de la gente, yo sin poder ver demasiado más ya que todo fue abrazos, alegría, llanto de emoción…etc…etc… Como se puede leer, fue mi primer gran recuerdo de Boca, de su gente, de su emoción, de su gloria…



The Penalty of the Championship: Boca Juniors x River Plate
by Oscar R. Amoia

1962 came to an end, and at that time, there was only a single championship of football in Argentina that went from March to December. Boca was not the champion since 1954, and this had all the Boca supporters very anxious and expectant. In October of that year, I had just turned 6 years old. In the next to last date of the championship, Boca had to play River Plate (its eternal rival) in the Bombonera. Both were in the first position of the table before this match. Remember that in those years the winner of a game earned 2 points, and a tie received 1 point. It is to say that game was a championship, and a true final.

It was a time in Argentina, especially at Boca and River, were many Brazilian foreign footballers made their mark. In Boca, the most outstanding and hailed were a classic number 6 (midfielder), Orlando, along with Paulo Valentim, a natural born center forward (number 9) who scored many goals that made the River supporters crazy during the games against them. I can still hear the shouts of the fans in my ears with the famous song of those times… “Tin, tin, tin… Goal by Valentim”.

For this game, the stadium was absolutely filled, and the atmosphere was ripe for heart attacks. Boca went ahead early in the game with a goal by Valentim, and appeared to be practically the champion. But a few minutes from the end of the game, the referee called a penalty for River Plate. In that situation, the whole game was on the line.

The goalkeeper of Boca was Antonio Roma, who was also keeper of the Argentine selection and very secure in the goal area. The one to kick the penalty for River was Delem, a Brazilian virtuoso and, like all Brazilians, a very good striker of the ball. The stadium was in a burial silence, and the hearts of all those that were present there were beating desperately. The seconds seemed like an eternity to us. I watched my father and all around me, infected by that atmosphere of anxiety and nervousness.

All of the most fervent Boca supporters were behind the goal posts. The Brazilian had to face all of that multitude in front of him. And there was Delem. He took a few steps, and kicked the ball to the right of Roma who plunged and parried it to the side. Even still today, I see this image of that moment in my eyes, and it still moves me to think about it. The shouts of the people, without being able to see too much since everyone was hugging each other, the joy, weeping of emotion, etc. As you can read, it was my first great memory of Boca, its people, her emotion, its glory.


Spanish translation by Steve Amoia.

Steve Amoia writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio, Football Media, Keeper Skool, and Soccerlens.

Oscar reminds him that he must attend this derby before he dies. 😉

Back to Major Football Rivalries

Also see: Footbo’s page on the Boca v River rivalry.

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2 Comments

  1. Maik 4 January, 2009
  2. Silvina 11 January, 2009