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
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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.


Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

Updated 14 December 2018
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Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne close to Manchester City return, says Pep Guardiola

MANCHESTER: Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are both on the verge of a return to action for Manchester City as a busy December program gathers pace, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Aguero, City’s leading scorer, has missed their past four matches with a groin problem but has been able to train without discomfort and could face Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Belgium midfielder De Bruyne suffered ligament damage to his right knee in August and although he returned in October, he then injured his left knee during the League Cup win over Fulham on November 1.
He too has resumed full training and Guardiola will assess both players in the hope that his lengthy casualty list might be about to ease.
The manager, though, is optimistic on 30-year-old Aguero, who has 12 goals in all competitions this season.
“He did the last two training sessions, including on Thursday and he has no pain in his injury so we’ll decide,” he said.
“Kevin is in the same situation as Sergio. Yesterday he trained with no pain, we will see.”
The win over Hoffenheim enabled City to get back on track after the disappointment of seeing their 15-match unbeaten start to the Premier League season end in a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last Saturday.
“Last season, when we dropped points, we were able to respond with another big run,” he said.