Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Madrid invasion! - Boca, River fans invade Spanish capital for Libertadores final

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Boca Juniors fans and a River Plate fan (right) shake hands as they meet at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain on Friday. The Copa Libertadores Final will be played on today in Spain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium for security reasons, after River Plate fans attacked the Boca Junior team bus heading into the Buenos Aires stadium for the meeting of Argentina's fiercest football rivals two weeks ago.

MADRID (AP):

Hundreds of Boca Juniors fans gathered outside their team's hotel in Madrid yesterday, chanting "It doesn't matter where you play, we will always follow you."

A few hours later, thousands of River fans packed the iconic Plaza del Sol in the heart of the Spanish capital, one day before the bitter Argentine rivals meet in the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.

Tens of thousands of Boca and River fans are in the city for the "supercl·sico" at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium today.

"I think fans from both teams are very nervous today," said 14-year-old Boca fan Joaquim Naser, who travelled from Argentina to watch the game. "It's going to be a great party at the Bernabeu. It's going to be packed with South American fans."

About 25,000 supporters from each club are expected at the Bernabeu, with many making the trip of more than 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) from Argentina.

 

FANS ELATED

 

Carrying blue-and-yellow flags, banners, and drums, Boca fans welcomed the squad after its last practice session before the final. The supporters cheered when the bus arrived, and players waved to them.

Dressed in red and white, River fans later gathered in the city centre, taking over the Plaza del Sol as they chanted the team's traditional songs.

Both teams had closed practice sessions in the last day of preparations for the final, which was moved to Madrid after fan violence marred the second leg in Buenos Aires two weeks ago. Boca Juniors players were injured before the match when River fans attacked the Boca team bus with rocks, bottles, and wood. The first leg, hosted by Boca in Buenos Aires, ended in a 2-2 draw.