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AFP
December 8, 2018

‘Argentinian football the loser in Copa final’

Sports

AFP
December 8, 2018

MADRID: Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto has admitted that no matter who wins the Copa Libertadores in Madrid on Sunday, Argentinian football will have lost to violence.

River Plate and Boca will play the delayed second leg of the final at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium after the original game was postponed last month, following an attack by River fans on the Boca team bus.

CONMEBOL, South America’s football federation, decided to rearrange the fixture, controversially moving it from Argentina to Spain amid fears of further fan violence. “We should have played in our own country but unfortunately that is not possible,” Schelotto said on Friday from the Spanish national team’s training base. “Unfortunately, we never learn. It seems we make the same mistakes over and over again, and what is damaged is the image of Argentinian and South American football.

A traditionally highly-charged derby has been magnified by the fact Boca and River are meeting in the final of the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, for the first time. But two Argentinian teams contesting South America’s most prestigious club prize abroad, and in Spain, has been perceived as a great opportunity missed. —AFP

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