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Firstpost Spodcast Episode 99: River Plate's win over Boca Juniors, Gautam Gambhir dismisses rumours of joining politics and more

Copa Libertadores, the prestigious South American football tournament, was won by Argentinian team River Plate 5-3 in what was billed as the superfinal – a superclasico against fellow Argentinians Boca Juniors. The second leg, an away game, was played in Madrid on Sunday. The match had many special guests in attendance - Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, Antoine Griezmann, FIFA president Gianni Infantino as well as Real chief Florentino Perez. The first leg, played in Buenos Aires, was a draw, and the second leg was rescheduled due to violence.

Dario Benedetto gave Boca the lead just before half time but River Plate hit back as Lucas Pratto equalized in the 68th minute. By this time, memories of the first leg were being recalled, where River fought back to equalize for a 2-2 draw. There was some drama during extra time as Wilmar Barrios was red carded in the 92nd minute. River Plate seized the advantage soon after as Juan Fernando Quintero slammed the ball into Boca’s goalpost to make it 2-1.

As a beleaguered Boca scrambled to save the game, River managed to sneak in another goal at the death thanks to Gonzalo Martinez who scored in the 122nd minute to make it 3-1.
River Plate won the final with an aggregate score of 5 against Boca’s 3.

Summing up River Plate’s elation after the win, striker Lucas Pratto said, “We want to enjoy this because I don’t think we’ll win another Cup against Boca like this.”

An update from the exciting 2018 Hockey World Cup. Germany defeated a spirited Malaysian team to enter the quarter-finals of the tournament while Pakistan snuck into the knockout stage despite suffering a 1-5 drubbing by Netherlands on Sunday.

The rules of the competition state that the top-placed teams in each of the four groups qualify directly for the quarter-finals while the second and third placed teams will compete against teams from other pools in cross-over matches for the remaining four slots.

Germany seized control of the match from the get go, scoring 3 goals in just 18 minutes. Malaysia, who won the silver at the 2018 Asian Games, proved their mettle once again, fighting back to score 2 goals in the next ten minutes. Germany made it 4-2 in the 39th minute, only to concede a 3rd goal a mere three minutes later. The next 18 minutes were intensely fought as both teams tried to sneak in an advantage, but Germany prevailed thanks to a 59th minute goal by Timm Herzbruch that made it 5-3.

Germany’s 5-3 win over Malaysia saw them top Pool D, which meant they qualified for the quarter-finals that will be played on the 12th of December. They will take on the winner of the Belgium v Pakistan match that will be played tomorrow. Similarly, India topped Pool C and qualified for the quarter-finals while Argentina and Australia topped Pool A and Pool B respectively. Even though Malaysia and Pakistan had the same number of points, Pakistan made it through because of an advantage in goal difference.

In cricket related news, Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who announced his retirement last week, has dismissed rumours that he is planning to join politics. Instead, the former Indian opener hinted that he is open to coaching opportunities at the highest level.

Gambhir said issues may have been conflated due to his outspoken nature, leading to such rumours. He said, “There are rumours which I have heard as well, probably the reason is maybe I take up social issues as well... For me Twitter was always a platform which is very, very important and where I take up social issues.”

He explained, “...being a citizen of this country, it is my right to take up social issues and that probably is the reason why people think I am going to join politics but there is nothing of that sort.”
The IPL-winning former captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders said he is also open to coaching opportunities. Gambhir said, “One thing which excites me is action and I am sure action is not about sitting in those AC rooms doing commentary and stuff. I don't know if I am going to be as good a coach as I have been a player. I will have to evaluate whether I can be successful as a coach. Let's see, if that comes around and if I feel that I have the energy, passion and if I have the commitment to do it, I will think about it.”

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 16:52:04 IST