Superclasico fever marred by more violence

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Well it's that time again folks... when tales of the 'World's Greatest Derby' rear their head ahead of Boca Juniors vs River Plate.

The clash of the titans of Argentine football return in a frenzy of flag waving, chanting, scantily-clad models, mild violence and the odd drug arrest.

Only this season, the managers don't seem that bothered. And the barra brava, as you'll find out later, have other things on their mind.

La Bombonera build-up ahead of Boca vs River 

Wins for either team would, of course, be valuable. River could desperately do with the three points to lift them above the utterly dismal 18th place they currently occupy (there is no chance of going down thanks to their high three-year points average).

But they do have their eyes on the Copa Sudamericana as a route to silverware.

Boca, after a good start to the season, have been conceding goals like it was going out of fashion, and have dropped down to 6th. And as we reach the halfway point in the season, its seems increasingly unlikely that they will catch table-topping San Lorenzo.

With the amount of resources and fanbase each team has, the clash remains the most important in Argentine football, but during the last few seasons they have had less and less to argue about. As the smaller teams (Newell's, Tigre and Lanus in particular) have surpassed them the superclasico is no longer the duel it once was.

Of course, the fans still hate each other and pretty much every TV screen in Buenos Aires will be tuned in, but even they seem a little despondent.

The last two meetings between the sides were marred by internal wranglings, culminating in several deaths among the River Plate barra brava.

River fans clash at Velez Sarsfield - March 2008 

And this time it seems the same will happen again, only this time in the Boca end. In fact, if anything, it is the superclasicos that spark the feuds within the barra bravas.

A certain rhetoric sprayed around the makeshift walls of the poor la Boca of Buenos Aires warns of the fighting: "Go armed, you'll be safe." "There are bullets to go around."

Following Boca's defeat against Estudiantes last weekend (their third in a row), two of the factions within the Doce (12) barra brava clashed - those behind the current leader Mauro Martin and the others, supporting a Uruguayan called Richard.

They are fighting over their position on the terraces – something that will give them overall control of the barra and the income from criminal activities that take place – before the superclasico.

The battle is about to commence. We can only hope it doesn't result in the horrific pitch-side battles involving River last season.