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.


Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

Updated 16 July 2019
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Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

LOS ANGELES: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the US with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka —  doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defense and racing in to fire into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour has not started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organizations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership.”

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.