Players and fans from Argentine rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors are preparing for the Copa Libertadores final on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, after the biggest game in South American club soccer relocated to the neutral setting of Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The scheduled kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. local time.
The eagerly awaited match is the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League. The game was postponed and transferred from Buenos Aires to the Spanish capital after River Plate fans attacked the Boca Junior’s team bus on Nov. 24, prior to the second leg.
The first leg at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires ended 2-2.
Spanish police will be securing a 1.2-mile perimeter between the River and Boca fans around the stadium.
So far, there have been no reported incidents between fans. They shared public transportation to attend the game.
Supporters threw confetti at the Boca fan zone, in the team’s colors of blue and yellow. Horatio Sanchez came from Argentina for the decided, said he expected the enthusiasm from the fans even in Madrid in December.
“Boca fans are Boca fans anywhere. We do it all for Boca, we brought a great atmosphere to Madrid. It is not just like Argentina, but it is near.”
Claudio Aguilar was wrapped in a River flag a few blocks away as he waited for the team to leave the hotel. He had come from Plaza de Cuzco, where other supporters spun red and white umbrellas in the air.
“It cost me a lot to be here, but I do anything for River. This final does not have the same taste, it is far from home and I can’t fulfill my dream of celebrating with my neighbors on the streets of our city. But we have to win, maybe we will never play a Libertadores final against Boca again.”
Boca is looking to win its seventh South American title, and River is seeking its fourth.
By Jeanette Smith
Chron.com: River Plate, Boca Juniors set for Copa Libertadores final
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