Riquelme receives rapturous Boca reception

BUENOS AIRES - Boca Juniors playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme was given a rapturous reception on Sunday in his first game since quitting the Argentine national side.

The Bombonera stadium echoed to cries of "Riquelme" as Boca took the field for their game with Argentinos Juniors and fans displayed banners supporting the enigmatic midfielder.

Riquelme blamed Argentina coach Diego Maradona, himself a Boca fan and hero among the club's followers, for his surprise decision last week to quit, saying they could not work together.

Some fans turned against Maradona with banners calling him a traitor for comments he made about Riquelme's playing style last week which upset the former Barcelona and Villarreal player and prompted his decision to quit.

"I'm happy with the decision I've made and I hope I don't have to talk about this subject any more," Riquelme said in a television interview afterwards.

Boca won 3-0, defender Juan Forlin and strikers Luciano Figueroa and Rodrigo Palacio sharing the goals, and moved up to ninth in the Clausura championship with nine points from six games, six behind leaders Lanus who beat Colon 2-1 on Saturday.

Troubled Racing Club won for the first time in the championship, beating Godoy Cruz 1-0 with a 75th minute header from Pablo Caballero.

The visitors had Hernan Encina sent off in the 38th minute after he was booked twice in three minutes.

Despite the win, Racing, who have just emerged from 10 years of bankruptcy and are one of the country's most popular clubs, remained bottom with four points.


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