Monday, February 18News For London

River Plate beats Boca Juniors 3-1 after controversial switch to Bernabeu

A social media storm followed the match which had been postponed twice

River Plate beat a 10-man Boca Juniors 3-1 in second leg of Copa Libertadores final at Real Madrid’s home, Santiago Bernabeu. Juan Quintero scored in the 109th minute before teammate Gonzalo Martinez made it 3-1. River Plate won 5-3 on aggregate.

The tournament is organised in honour of those who helped liberate South America from Spanish colonial rule.

The match was originally supposed to be played in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires on 24 November but had to be postponed due to the bus of Boca being attacked by River Plate fans.

The players suffered cuts from broken windows as well as getting affected by the police using tear bombs to disperse the crowd.

After another attempt to play out the match had to be postponed, the CONMEBOL, governing body of South American football decided that holding it in Madrid was a more secure option.

River Plate President Rodolfo D’Onofrio called the incident a “tremendous disgrace”. He added: “We lost being hosts and that is a huge disadvantage. It’s unjust that more than 60,000 people have lost the opportunity to see the game at the Monumental Stadium.

“The security system failed, totally and absolutely. We had zero responsibility. River’s responsibility begins inside the Monumental stadium. When Boca leave their hotel, the responsibility is of the security services.”

The controversial match was subject to a flurry of reactions on social media.

Some were still not over the venue.

Others had completely different ideas.

River Plate were made to work for the win as they were forced come back from a goal down after Dario Benedetto struck just before half time. Lucas Pratto equalised on the 68th minute to take the game into extra time before Quintero and Martinez completed the dramatic turnaround.

Only 4,000 supporters of each side showed up for the final due to the flight costs and the fact that the tickets for the final at Bernabeu were more expensive than the ones for the postponed match.

They were separated with an empty block of seats. An estimated 2,500 policeman were on duty and the road outside the stadium was closed for the whole day.

Nico, A River Plate supporter, told the BBC: “For me it’s embarrassing. I wanted to watch the match with my parents and my brother in River’s stadium, but we couldn’t. Sharing this with them was the biggest dream of my football fan life.”

Alejandro Dominguez, head of CONMEBOL, defended the decision saying that “Madrid is an exceptional decision in exceptional circumstances.” He added: “We found out that there is a big population of Argentineans living in Spain. In fact, it’s the biggest outside Argentina

“There are 350,000 Argentinean people living in Spain so we wanted to give the opportunity to them to live this match and feel it.”