Boca Juniors earned their 23rd Argentine title by winning a three-team playoff on goal difference despite a 1-0 loss to Tigre on Tuesday.
Tigre’s Leandro Lazzaro scored in the 67th minute, heading in Matias Gimenez’s cross past Boca goalkeeper Javier Garcia.
“We deserved to be champions,” Boca defender Claudio Morel Rodriguez said. “Tigre were great opponents, but we managed the game and they almost didn’t create any danger.”
Boca, Tigre and San Lorenzo ended the Apertura tied on 39 points, setting up the second ever three-way round-robin to decide the league winner.
Boca claimed the title with the only positive goal difference.
San Lorenzo beat Tigre 2-1 on Dec. 17, then Boca beat San Lorenzo 3-1 on Saturday.
The blue and gold could afford to lose 1-0 at neutral Racing Stadium on Tuesday, while Tigre could have won their first national title with a two-goal win. A title for Tigre would have defied the odds. Boca’s star midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme cost more to sign — US$15 million — than Tigre’s entire squad.
“Tigre also deserved the title, they had a great championship,” Boca coach Carlos Ischia said.
Boca won their first domestic title since the 2006 Clausura. They last won the Apertura in 2005.
Boca played without injured star forward Martin Palermo or Riquelme, who was suspended for the match after accumulating five yellow cards.
Forward Rodrigo Palacio was expelled in stoppage time when he received two quick yellow cards for time wasting and protesting too vehemently.
Ischia pulled Garcia shortly after he conceded the goal, in a rare keeper substitution. It was not immediately apparent that Garcia was injured.
“Cry, cry, cry River, cry,” Boca’s fans sang as the seconds ticked down on an Apertura season made perhaps as memorable by the fact their bitter rivals River Plate finished in last place.
It was the second time the Apertura has been extended to a three-team playoff. In 1968, Velez Sarsfield won the round-robin against River Plate and Racing Club.