Madrid touted for postponed Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate

River Plate fans look forlorn after the Copa Libertadores final second-leg was called off for a second time. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
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Madrid touted for postponed Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate

MADRID: Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium may host the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Argentine rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors postponed after fan violence at the weekend, Spanish media said on Thursday.

“According to sources close to negotiations, the agreement is 90 percent closed and all parties hope to be able to announce it Thursday afternoon,” the daily El Pais said.

The newspaper added that Spain’s football federation (RFEF) and Real Madrid had given the green light to the event.

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.

South American football administrators Conmebol subsequently said the match could not be played in Argentina, starting intense speculation over where it would be played.

The Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar, which will be used in the 2022 World Cup, has also been linked with the match.

Sports daily As said it could instead take place on December 9 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium at 8.30 p.m. local time.

Boca Junior and River Plate both have games scheduled that weekend in the Argentine league.

Neither the RFEF nor Real Madrid were available for comment when contacted by AFP.

The daily El Mundo also reported the final could take place at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, used to hosting the “clasico” clashes between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, which this time would turn into the River-Boca “superclasico.”

But El Mundo pointed out that this second leg final depends on a decision of Conmebol’s disciplinary commission.

The first leg ended 2-2. Boca Juniors have asked to be awarded victory without playing the second leg, while River Plate want to play.

The clash between the two Buenos Aires clubs was due to be the last Libertadores final played over two legs. Earlier this year, Conmebol decided to adopt a single-match format from next season when the final will be in Santiago, Chile.

Madrid is set to host another prestigious final this season — that of the Champions League in June, at Atletico’s Metropolitano stadium.


David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

Updated 24 March 2019
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David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

  • Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament
  • During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean

KOLKATA: Australia’s David Warner smashed 85 from 53 balls on his Indian Premier League comeback Sunday but his knock went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Warner, who along with compatriot Steve Smith returns to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, steered Sunrisers to 181 for three after being put into bat.
Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament after organizers stopped him for his part in the scandal.
His one-year ban from international cricket ends later this month and the 32-year-old opener is expected to make Australia’s World Cup squad and play in this summer’s Ashes series in England.
During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean, and grade cricket in Australia.
His efforts though were not enough, with Andre Russell hitting an unbeaten 49 off 19 balls as the Knight Riders won by six wickets with two balls to spare at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
A pause for a floodlight failure in the 16th over re-charged Knight Riders’ chase as Russell put together an unbeaten 65-run stand with Shubman Gill, who hit 18 runs including the winning six.
Russell struck four fours and four sixes
Earlier Warner stood out during a 118-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who made 39, to lay the platform for their big total.
“It is good to get out there and contribute. It looked a nice wicket to bat on but it slowed down a bit which made us reassess after six overs,” Warner said after his knock.
The Australian admitted some anxiety before his big return to IPL — and an unusual solution.
“I was a bit nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice,” he said.
Opener Warner survived a reprieve on 38 after Knight Riders captain and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik dropped him off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their only IPL title in 2016, made the most of the spill and raced to his 37th IPL fifty with a six off Russell to signal his aggressive intent.
Bairstow was bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but Warner took the attack to the opposition, hitting nine fours and three sixes during his blitz.
Warner, who recently recovered from an elbow injury he picked in the Bangladesh Premier League, finally fell to Russell after driving the ball to cover.
Warner said his elbow “wasn’t all too bad” after doing a lot of work with his trainer back home.
Year-long bans from state and international cricket for Warner and Smith end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL’s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.
Smith is expected to appear for his team Rajasthan Royals in their opening match against Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur on Monday.