Bernabau hosting the Copa Libertadores a big mistake

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Sunday, 9th December. This follows fan trouble marring the showpiece spectacle in Buenos Aires which was set to take place last Saturday, but has now been postponed.

Prior to the match, chaotic scenes saw River Plate fans attack the team bus of their fierce rivals and injuring several Boca players in the process. As a resolution to the violence, authorities had to disperse the crowds through force, by using pepper spray.

The final between the two sides was touted as not only the biggest fixture in either sides history, but the biggest in Argentina’s 127-year footballing history. The travelling sets of fans will now have to make the 6,000 mile trip to Spain’s capital.

The Copa Libertadores will be at stake in Spain for the first time ever. Photograph: Gerardo Lazzari
The Copa Libertadores will be at stake in Spain for the first time ever.
Photograph: Gerardo Lazzari

Visiting fans are unable to attend games between the two Argentine sides, but the neutral venue of the Bernabeu means both sides will now have an equal allocation for the deciding fixture. Though fans have taken much of the criticism, governing body COMNEBOL should also come into the firing line according to The Guardian’s, South American football expert, Marcela Mora y Araujo.

“Argentina’s hosting the G20 and the city is under siege. The narrative from River that Boca bigged up the incident, but there’s a lot of discussion and debate and since yesterday afternoon playing in Madrid was stated as fact.” She says.

“I think COMNEBOL take a huge dose of responsibility. They’ve handled this abysmally. I don’t feel relieved that this has gone to Madrid, it’s an absolute shambles. This is the Copa Libertadores of America.”

The tie is finely-poised after River Plate held Boca Juniors to a 2-2 draw at the La Bombonera on Saturday, 11th November.