The Estadio Bernabeu in Madrid will be home on Sunday to quite possibly the biggest match in the history of South American soccer: River Plate and Boca Juniors will play the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, and winner takes all.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 9th
Time: 2:30 PM ET
TV Channel: FOX Deportes
Streaming: fuboTV (Sign up now for a 7-day free trial)
Stalemate after the first leg, violence in the second
This incredible, historic rivalry is deciding the biggest tournament in South America for the first time ever. It’s been nearly a month since these two teams played an amazing and contentious first leg at La Bombonera. Boca, playing at home, took the lead in the 34th minute before River responded immediately in the following minute. The fantastic back-and-forth affair ended with a 2-2 draw.
The second match was initially scheduled for November 24th at River Plate’s home stadium, but instead of fireworks on the field, violence not far from the ground stole – and stopped – the show. The Boca Juniors bus was attacked, with a window shattering and injuring several players. While CONMEBOL attempted to move ahead with the match, the teams agreed that it should be postponed.
Why the Libertadores Final is in Madrid
The expectation was that it would be rescheduled at River Plate once again, but perhaps with some form of punishment – such as no fans allowed. However, a delay in the decision – plus backlash from both clubs and lack of local security availability due to the G20 summit – resulted in the game heading to Madrid. Why Madrid was chosen is slightly less clear – the winner of the match will go on to play in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, which begins on December 12th, so perhaps CONMEBOL and FIFA wanted the squads closer to the UAE. Or maybe Madrid simply offered the best security solution. Either way, neither club is happy – and nor should they be. The Copa Libertadores is a tribute to the leaders that liberated South Americans from their imperialist colonizers – namely, the Spanish. For the biggest club tournament in South America, that’s not just a shame – it’s an insult.
What this match means to River Plate and Boca Juniors fans
If the match carries on, the scenario is simple: the winner leaves as champion, and another draw takes us to a penalty shootout. Regardless of the outcome and how the winner is decided, this will truly be a fantastic game. These two teams are playing for the South American championship, absolutely hate each other, and will do whatever it takes to be Libertadores champions over their biggest rival. The atmosphere might not be as wild as the first leg or the recent attempt at the final leg, but rest-assured, Argentines will still travel in droves to Europe to watch.
This is without a doubt the game of the weekend in the world of soccer, and to many, the game of the century. Never before have these staunch rivals met in South America’s biggest club tournament. Both fans and players alike have dreamed of this moment for years, and finally, they’ll have the chance to etch their names into the history books.
How to Watch
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