BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Boca Juniors returned to winning ways with a crushing 4-0 home victory over Newell’s Old Boys in the Argentine championship on Sunday, though none of their fans were there to see it.
Boca, playing at an empty La Bombonera for a second time as punishment for crowd violence at their Libertadores Cup tie with arch-rivals River Plate last month, broke a run of two league defeats and stayed second with the win.
They have 31 points from 15 matches at the halfway point in the championship, which now shuts down for a month for the Copa America in Chile. The tournament kicks off on Friday.
“The win is good for our spirits,” said Boca coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena. “I liked the team ... we have 33 players in the squad and the kids who played responded well.”
Central defender Daniel Diaz gave Boca the lead in the fifth minute with a free kick in a line-up missing midfield pair Fernando Gago and Nicolas Lodeiro, who are both on international duty with Argentina and Uruguay.
Dani Osvaldo was also missing after being absent from training all week due to a personal issue.
The striker may have played his last game for Boca since his loan spell from Southampton ends on June 30, though the club have said they want to try to keep him.
San Lorenzo lead the standings by one point after being held 0-0 by Belgrano on Saturday.
River, with 28 points from 13 matches, are playing at Olimpo in Sunday’s late match and could go top before the championship resumes as they have a game in hand at Tigre that could be played during the recess.
Racing Club are two points behind San Lorenzo after beating Velez Sarsfield 3-1 at El Cilindro, where Diego Milito had a penalty saved but rounded off the win with a brilliant solo goal near the end.
Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Peter Rutherford