Boca Juniors vs. River Plate Copa Libertadores final to be played outside Argentina

Aerial view of River Plate's Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, before the all-Argentine Copa Libertadores second leg final match against Boca Juniors was postponed on November 25, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 November 2018
0

Boca Juniors vs. River Plate Copa Libertadores final to be played outside Argentina

  • The original second-leg clash between the two Buenos Aires clubs at the weekend was postponed after Boca players were injured in an attack
  • The tie is delicately poised following a 2-2 draw at Boca’s Bombonera home just over two weeks ago

LONDON: South American football administrators Conmebol said on Tuesday that the postponed Copa Libertadores final second leg between fierce local rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors would be played outside Argentina.
Following a meeting with the two Argentine clubs’ presidents in Asuncion, Conmebol said the match, to take place on “December 8 or 9,” would be at an as yet undecided venue.
The original second-leg clash between the two Buenos Aires clubs at the weekend was postponed after Boca players were injured in an attack on their team bus by River fans with pepper spray, stones and sticks.
Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez told reporters that “the final cannot be played in Argentina.”
A Conmebol statement moments earlier said that due to the weekend “violence... that put players, officials and fans at risk... it would not be prudent to play the final in” Argentina.
The tie is delicately poised following a 2-2 draw at Boca’s Bombonera home just over two weeks ago.
The second leg had to be postponed after Boca players suffered cuts from broken glass and from smoke inhalation when their bus was attacked by River fans on the way to the Monumental Stadium in the Argentine capital on Saturday.
It was originally postponed by 24 hours before Conmebol announced on Sunday that it was being suspended indefinitely ahead of Tuesday’s meeting at the body’s headquarters in the Paraguayan capital.
Boca’s president Daniel Angelici petitioned the continent’s governing body to award them the trophy, a move his River counterpart Rodolfo D’Onofrio branded “shameful.”
Some potential final venues have already expressed an interest in hosting the derby dubbed a “superclasico,” and the most important in Argentine club football history, as it pits the two most popular teams in the country in the continent’s most prestigious final.
The group that runs the Atletico Mineiro stadium in Brazilian city Belo Horizonte offered on Tuesday to host the match.
That came a day after the Italian city of Genoa cited cultural links between the city and Italian immigrants to Argentina in the early 20th century as it suggested the Marassi stadium as a potential venue.


Asian Cup heartbreak for Jordan as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons chase glory against Japan

Updated 20 January 2019
0

Asian Cup heartbreak for Jordan as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons chase glory against Japan

  • After extra-time finished at 1-1, BT Dung rolled in the decisive spot-kick for a 4-2 shootout win for Vietnam
  • The dramatic win will definitely be considered an upset after Jordan were the first to qualify for the knockout stages

DUBAI: It was Asian Cup agony for Jordan on Sunday after Vietnam emerged victorious from a penalty shoot out to become the first team to reach the quarterfinals — after being the last side to scrape into the round of 16.
After extra-time finished at 1-1, BT Dung rolled in the decisive spot-kick for a 4-2 shootout win and saluted the crowd after Baha Faisal and Ahmed Samir had missed for Jordan.
The dramatic win will definitely be considered an upset after Jordan were the first to qualify for the knockout stages, and Vietnam only went through because of their disciplinary record after they finished with an identical points and goals record to Lebanon.
However, the south-east Asian champions came back from a goal down to force extra time, and they were, on balance, the stronger and more positive team over the 120 minutes of play.
Vital Borkelmans’ Jordan came into the game as the form side and they spurned a number of chances before opening the scoring six minutes from half-time.
Baha Abdel-Rahman, taking a free kick from the right edge of the penalty area, hit it just right as the ball bent around the wall and flew into the top corner.
However, the goal stung Vietnam into action and they nearly hit back when Hung Dung’s dipping shot was tipped over by Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
Vietnam, who won the Suzuki Cup in December, levelled six minutes after the break, when Cong Phuong showed great technique to steer home a volley from close range.
On the hour-mark, Van Duc nearly snatched it for the Vietnamese but his dink over Shafi was hacked off the line by Anas Bani-Yaseen.
And Jordan’s Yaseen Bakheet had a great chance to grab the win in the first period of extra time, but from a high ball into the box he ballooned his volley over.
One could cut the tension in Dubai’s Al-Maktoum Stadium with a knife as the spot-kicks got underway and when Faisal hit the bar and Van Lam saved from Salih, Vietnam were very much in the driving seat.
Shafi, diving low, saved Minh Vuong’s attempt but it was only delaying defeat as Dung coolly netted the winner, giving a military salute in celebration before being mobbed by his team-mates.
Just 20 kilometers to the east, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Saudi Arabia were adding the finishing touches to their preparations for the huge round of 16 clash with Japan in Sharjah, which kicks off today.
And the Argentine coach was in confident mood, despite the “Samurai Blue” being one of the favorites for the the title.
“We have great ambition, we are facing a main candidate for winning (the tournament), our confidence is in our team and we came into the tournament knowing it would be tough,” he said on Sunday.
“All of our players are ready, injury-free and available for the game.”
When asked about the defeat to Qatar in the last game, Pizzi said his Green Falcons side were using it as an opportunity to learn for their “do-or-die” clash with Japan.
“If we lose (on Sunday) then we go home, we know that.
“I have followed the Japanese team in the past few matches, and consider them as one of the best teams.
“They are among one of the most consistent and 10 out of 11 (first-team) players play abroad. I consider them as strong candidates to win, but I also trust my players abilities,” he said.
As has been his wont throughout the Asian Cup, Pizzi was keen to dedicate Saudi Arabia’s progress in the tournament to the fans.
“I know the history of the two teams, especially in World Cup qualification, and I am also aware of the joy of Saudi people when we qualified.
“You have to focus on what’s in front of you as all matches are different. We are highly committed toward our fans and we will play in the best manner to win because our fans deserve the best,” he added.