Sunday, April 14, 2024

SPORTS | 05-12-2018 16:26

Copa Libertadores: Boca Juniors arrive in Madrid as River depart from Ezeiza

The saga is over – it looks like the match is definitely going ahead this Sunday in the Spanish capital.

Boca Juniors landed in Spain this evening as they prepare to end the long-running Copa Libertadores final saga, over two weeks after a fan assault threw the fixture into doubt.

Meanwhile, their rivals, River Plate, were on their way to Ezeiza international airport, ahead of their own flight to Madrid later tonight.

Boca players were greeted by an army of fans outside their hotel in Madrid as they prepare to finally play the second leg of the final against the Millionarios on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the scores level at 2-2 after the first match at La Bombanera almost a month ago.

The match has been delayed ever since River fans attacked the Boca team bus hours before the match was supposed to take place at River's Monumental stadium on November 24.

River jetted off from Buenos Aires on Wednesday afternoon, with Boca already in the Spanish capital in order to contest the decisive leg, which will take place at a venue at which they had both initially refused to play.

Over the weekend River joined Boca in saying that it was "incomprehensible" that the game had been moved to Spain, insisting that the club bore no responsibility for the "faults in the security operation" for the high-profile fixture in Buenos Aires, despite CONMEBOL's statutes saying otherwise.

On Tuesday, Boca legend Juan Román Riquelme slammed the decision to move the match away from Buenos Aires to Spain, saying that it would make one of the world's fiercest derbies "the most expensive friendly in history."

"The final is losing a bit of its magic," Cristian Farfalla, a young Boca Juniors supporter who made the transatlantic trip from Argentina, told AFP.  "Honestly, I would have preferred the game to be played over there [in Argentina]. But on the other side, I have the chance to be able to come and see it, which I wouldn't normally have been able to do."

Attending the game is beyond the reach of most. On Monday the two clubs each put 5,000 tickets on sale to supporters in Argentina at 3,600 pesos (84 euros), or a quarter of the average monthly Argentine salary. That's before flights, accommodation and food are even factored into the equation.

CONMEBOL has made 25,000 tickets available for each team, with 5,000 being sold in Argentina and the rest through the confederation's website for fans overseas.

Another 22,000 tickets will go to sponsors and the general public. Some are being sold for more than 1,000 euros (US$1,135) through online dealers.


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