Santiago Bernabeu to Host Copa Libertadores 2nd Leg

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 19: The Bernabeu stadium is seen during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Real Madrid and AS Roma at Bernabeu on September 19, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium will host the second leg of the Copa Libertadores showdown between Argentinian rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors on December 9.

After the first leg between the two sides finished in a 2-2 draw at Boca's Bombonera stadium, the second leg was postponed following crowd trouble before the game at River's Monumental stadium. The match was put back until the next day before eventually being called off.

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated relayed the news the match will now take place at the Bernabeu after it was confirmed the game would not be played in Argentina: 

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl

Official: Copa Libertadores final return leg will be in Madrid on December 9 at the Bernabéu.

According to Joaquin Maroto of AS provided further details ahead of the official announcement.

"After several phone calls in which even the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, the former president of Boca, took part, the two clubs accepted the proposal to play at Real Madrid's stadium. [Royal Spanish Football Federation president] Luis Rubiales was also on hand to make sure the deal moved along."

Ben Jacobs of beIN Sports reported that FIFA wanted to see the match played in Madrid:

Ben Jacobs @JacobsBen

Copa Libertadores update: FIFA want game played in Spain, probably now at Camp Nou although Bernabeu still an option. CONMEBOL sources adamant it’s going to Doha. @CARPoficial happy with either option. @BocaJrsOficial still believe they will be awarded the trophy without playing

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard said he has mixed feelings about the Superclasico being played at the home of the European champions:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Above tweet purely selfish. Not sure game should be played at all and think it's a crying shame it's going to be played outside South America. Not really "equal conditions" either after first leg at Boca, but if it is played, better at Bernabéu than in Qatar.

According to AS, FIFA got in touch with the Spanish football association on Thursday to pitch the idea of having the Buenos Aires derby played in the Spanish capital.

Maroto noted that Doha, Qatar, was another potential option for CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American football, as well as Asuncion, Paraguay.

The second leg was initially delayed a day following an attack on the Boca bus as it made its way towards the stadium. Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian reported that the coach was "pelted with missiles" and players were exposed to tear gas; it's added police and River fans also clashed.

Journalist Mootaz Chehade relayed footage of the bus driving through a section of River fans:

Mootaz Chehade @MHChehade

More footage of River Plate fans throwing rocks and pepper spray at the Boca bus. https://t.co/eRy7ByCfAv

The next day the game was scheduled to go ahead, but it was eventually postponed as CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said the conditions for both teams would not be "equal," per Wilson. He also conceded he wasn't sure if the second leg would be played at all.

There is some time pressure on the match to be played, as South America is expected to have a representative at the FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament is set to start in the United Arab Emirates on December 12.