River, Boca looking ahead to second half of season

STEPHEN WADE AP Sports Writer Published:

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- River Plate has a new coach going into the second half of the season, while Argentina's other famous club in Boca Juniors may also be on the verge of making a coaching change.

Boca coach Julio Falcioni was booed off the pitch in his team's 2-1 victory over Godoy Cruz in the final round of the first half of the Argentine split season, called the Inicial tournament. The deafening disapproval at Boca's La Bombonera stadium came just a few days after Falcioni met with club president Daniel Angelici and had reportedly agreed to stay on for another year.

In Sunday's two matches, River Plate defeated San Martin 2-0 to mark a winning coaching debut for Ramon Diaz, and Independiente drew 2-2 with Colon.

Manuel Lanzini and Carlos Sanchez scored for River. It was a good start for Diaz, who won seven trophies in two coaching stints at River Plate more than a decade ago -- five league titles, the Copa Libertadores and the South American Supercup.

Osmar Ferreyra and Ernesto Farias found the net for Independiente, and Emanuel Gigliotti scored twice for Colon.

Most of the drama in the first division ended last weekend when Velez Sarsfield wrapped up the title -- its third in eight seasons.

That put the focus on Boca and Falcioni.

Falcioni, who has won a league title with Boca and took the team to the final of last season's Copa Libertadores, was the least popular person on the field on Saturday. Former Boca star Martin Palermo, now the coach of Godoy Cruz, received warm applause. So did Juan Roman Riquelme, the moody midfielder who left Boca after last season following a falling out with Falcioni.

It also marked the final match at Boca for defender Rolando Schiavi, who is expected to move next season to become an assistant coach to Palermo. Schiavi is also reported to be interested in a move to China.

Schiavi broke down crying on the pitch, reading signs like: "For leaving everything on the field, thank you."

"Eternally Grateful," read another.

Falcioni was greeted with several signs that read "Good Bye Falcioni, Come Back Roman."

A headline in Sunday's La Nacion summed up Falcioni's position: "On the Ropes."

Carlos Bianchi, who has coached Boca in two previous stints, is reportedly in line to replace Falcioni.

Velez finished with 41 points in 19 games, five ahead of Newell's and Belgrano, and seven in front of Lanus.

Also Saturday, it was: Argentinos Juniors 1, Newell's Old Boys 3; Atletico Rafaela 0, Velez Sarsfield 3; Belgrano 1, Estudiantes 0; and Lanus 0, San Lorenzo 0.

On Friday, it was: All Boys 0, Arsenal 1; and Union 1, Racing Club 1.