The much-anticipated clash between River Plate and Boca Juniors will not kick off as scheduled after the Bombonera pitch was submerged
Boca Juniors and River Plate’s Copa Libertadores final has been suspended after heavy rainfall lashed the streets of Buenos Aires.
The Argentine capital has received nearly 12 hours of constant precipitation since the early hours of Saturday morning.
That downfall has left Boca’s Bombonera and surrounding areas partially submerged, with large parts of the playing surface waterlogged.
And roughly two hours before Saturday’s scheduled kick-off time of 5pm (8pm GMT) both teams were told to stay in their hotels to await further information.
CONMEBOL subsequently decided to reprogram for a later date, with Sunday at 4pm (7pm GMT) now confirmed as the new time for the game.
Thousands of Boca fans who had already made their way to the Bombonera and braved the downpour must now return home, as do an estimated 5,000 River supporters who had gathered in the Monumental to see their team off.
Earlier, supervisor Fernando Jaúregui had insisted that the first leg of this highly anticipated Superclasico would be played as planned.
“Don’t worry, the pitch is in good condition. It will be a bit heavy but it will be fine. Nothing is going to be called off,” he told reporters.
CONMEBOL director of communications Fred Nantes had struck a more careful note in his statement to the press, however, though he believed that the stadium’s drainage would help clear the water.
“We’ll know that around 11:30 or 12:00 (CET 15:30,16:00) the rain is expected to ease off,” he had noted, a prediction that ultimately proved optimistic as the rains continued to beat down.
“The drainage system around the pitch is working perfectly.”
River and Boca will meet in the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition, for the first time, in a two-legged decider that has paralysed an entire country even before a single ball has been kicked.
Boca downed Brazil’s Palmeiras 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-final to book their place in the final, while River overcame holders Gremio on away goals in a thrilling if controversial clash.
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River coach Marcelo Gallardo is banned from attending the first leg in the Bombonera after defying his touchline ban in the last game in Porto Alegre, a move that prompted the beaten side to make an unsuccessful request that the Millonarios be eliminated from the competition.
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