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Boca Juniors part ways with coach
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Boca Juniors part ways with coach

Buenos Aires, Dec 15: Boca Juniors president Daniel Angelici said that the club will not renew the contract of coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, putting an end to his three-year tenure with the Buenos Aires side.

In the first press conference since Boca’s defeat by River Plate in the final of the Copa Libertadores, Angelici and Barros Schelotto at times appeared to be on the verge of tears, reports Efe.

“The best thing for Boca is to start the year with a new coaching staff. This is not a goodbye but rather a so long to the kind of idol that Guillermo was both as a player and as coach,” the club president said on Friday.

Barros Schelotto spent most of his 16-year playing career with Boca, winning 17 titles and scoring 86 goals. As manager, he led the side to two Argentine championships.

Turning to last Sunday’s loss to Boca’s cross-town nemesis, Angelici said: “And one team wins the final and I regret that against the classic rival, we could not bring the cup to the club.”

“I want to thank the executives, the Boca employees, the players and – fundamentally – the fans for how they have treated me these three years,” Barros Schelotto said.

“Beyond the pain and not having won the Copa Libertadores, I’m leaving with the peace of mind of having given everything. The decision we have made is the best thing for Boca,” he said.

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Boca Juniors supporters celebrate despite Libertadores loss

Buenos Aires, Dec 13: Thousands of Boca Juniors fans gathered here for the club’s annual Supporters Day despite sadness over the side’s loss to cross-town rivals River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final.

The celebration on Wednesday was supposed to take place as usual at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium, but the club management cancelled at last minute and closed the gates, blaming security “restrictions” imposed by the city government, reports Efe.

Even so, fans lingered around the stadium and at the capital’s famous Obelisk, where police had been deployed.

The first edition of Boca Juniors Supporters Day took place on Dec. 12, 2012.

The event was held for the first two years at the Obelisk, but violence at that location forced Boca to move the celebration inside La Bombonera.

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Boca Juniors make quiet return to Argentina following Libertadores loss

Buenos Aires, Dec 11: Boca Juniors players returned quietly to Argentina after losing in the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid over the weekend to crosstown arch-rival River Plate.

The runners-up in South America’s most prestigious club football competition arrived at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport mid-day on Monday without saying a word to the press, reports Efe.

Midfielder Fernando Gago, who left Sunday’s match with an injury and did not ride on the team bus, travelled in a private vehicle.

At the airport, not a single Boca fan was waiting to greet the team.

The club’s next scheduled match is not until the final week of January, a Superliga Argentina duel with Newell’s Old Boys, but Boca is likely to return to action earlier in January for make-up games against San Martin and Atletico Tucuman, though no dates have been set.

Boca is in fifth place in the Superliga, with 24 points, 12 fewer than leader Racing Club.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto is not expected to sign a contract extension, so Boca Juniors will likely have a new coach when it takes the field in January.

Under the 45-year-old Barros Schelotto, Boca Juniors won two straight championships.

The club, however, fell short in its quest for a third consecutive title in the current tournament and failed to win the Copa Libertadores.

River Plate, for its part, stayed in Madrid and will go straight from there to the United Arab Emirates to play in the FIFA Club World Cup as the South American representative.

On Sunday, River Plate scored two goals in overtime after battling Boca Juniors to a 1-1 tie in regulation, taking home the Copa Libertadores in a nailbiter second-leg match that was moved to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium due to violence.

In the first leg on November 11, the clubs played out a 2-2 draw at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium here.

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Boca Juniors confirm Gago Achilles tear

Boca Juniors, Dec 11: Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago faces months on the sidelines after rupturing his right Achilles tendon during his team’s Copa Libertadores final defeat to River Plate.

Gago limped off the pitch in the final minutes of Boca’s 3-1 extra-time defeat to their Argentine rivals in the second leg of the final at Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium on Sunday, a result that handed River a 5-3 win on aggregate, reports Xinhua.

“Be strong, Fernando,” Boca said in a statement on social media after scans confirmed the 32-year-old’s worst fears on Monday.

Most footballers require three to six months to make a full recovery from a torn Achilles tendon.

Former Real Madrid playmaker Gago, who has been capped 61 times for Argentina’s national team, has been beset by a long list of injuries throughout his career, including two previous Achilles tendon tears.

 

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Thousands celebrate in Buenos Aires after River Plate’s Libertadores triumph

Buenos Aires, Dec 10: Between 40,000 and 50,000 people filled up the downtown area here to celebrate the victory of River Plate over Boca Juniors in the final match of the Copa Libertadores played in Madrid.

The celebrations on Sunday night took place in the middle of a security operation during which there were seizures of alcoholic beverages from the fans, according to police, reports Efe news.

From early on, the central streets in Buenos Aires were blocked as well as the bus lane of the always busy 9 de Julio Avenue, in preparation for the arrival of the fans of the team that won the title of the Copa Libertadores in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.

From around 6.45 local time (21.45 GMT), shortly after River was announced champion, fans of the team were approaching the Obelisk in the centre of town despite heavy rain and progressively filled the area.

Hundreds of fans did not hesitate to get into their cars and drive through the streets honking their horns, waving flags outside their windows and shouting odes to their team.

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Dozens of Boca, River fans arrive in Madrid ahead of Copa Libertadores final

Madrid, Dec 9: Dozens of Boca Juniors and River Plate fans have landed in the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport in the Spanish capital without incident, on Sunday.

The arch-rivals from the Argentine capital are scheduled to settle the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium later in the day, following a 2-2 draw in the first leg played on Nov. 11 at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, reports Efe.

Wearing their team’s jerseys, River supporters chanted slogans after they arrived in Madrid amid heavy police presence at 6 am.

Over three hours later, fans of Boca Juniors landed and were escorted by the police to a subway station.

This is the first time for the Buenos Aires giants to meet in the final of the South American championship.

On Nov. 24, fans of River Plate attacked Boca’s team bus with stones, shattering windows.

This allowed pepper spray and tear gas, used by the police in an attempt to disperse the River fans, to enter the vehicle.

The Copa final was postponed twice after the bus attack: at first, immediately following the incident and later in order to allow players more time to recover.

(Nicolás Aboaf)
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Madrid ready for Copa Libertadores final second leg

Madrid, Dec 8:  Sunday sees the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Argentinean sides River Plate and Boca Juniors in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium: a game which has attracted worldwide attention given the dramatic circumstances surrounding it.

Such is the global interest in the match that the press box in the Bernabeu has had to be expanded to allow space for all the accredited journalists, reports Xinhua.

The game was moved from Argentina after violent scenes around River Plate’s El Monumental stadium saw the second leg postponed on November 25th after the Boca team bus was attacked by stones and other missiles by River fans.

Both sides had previously agreed that only home supporters would be allowed to attend the two-legged final, in a bid to reduce the risk of violence between rival fans. However, with both sets of supporters travelling to Madrid, where they will be joined by thousands of Argentines already living in Spain, Sunday’s game is surrounded by extraordinary security measures.

Both sets of fans will be separated for the duration of the day, with Fanzones for each set of supporters on either side of the ground.

Around 4,000 police, 2,000 of whom are members of the Anti-Disturbance branch of the Spanish national police, will be on duty, more than for a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona or a Madrid derby between Real and city rivals Atletico.

These security forces will be backed up by emergency services such as the fire brigade, ambulances and civil protection units.

Fans with tickets have also been issued with wrist bands and will have to pass through three separate security cordons before gaining access to the Bernabeu, while journalists have been advised to pick up their accreditation the day before, as there will be no way to access the stadium without a wristband on Sunday.

There are also plans to ensure supporters remain separate after the game, as one group of fans will be celebrating while the other laments their loss.

If Boca win the title, they will celebrate in the Plaza de Cibeles, while River Plate fans would make their victorious way to the Puerta del Sol in the heart of Madrid.

Spanish police, who are being helped by their Argentinean counterparts, are also on duty at Madrid’s Barajas Airport aiming to prevent known hooligans from the Barras Bravas gang from attending the game.

One notorious Boca “Barra Brava” was identified and immediately deported on Friday morning. Meanwhile, there are also worries that Spanish fans may also get involved in any violence, with Boca having a close relationship with Real Madrid’s “Ultra Sur” supporters, while River Plate’s radicals are close to Rayo Vallecano’s “Bukaneros” ultra group.

In sporting terms, the final is finely balanced after a 2-2 first leg draw in Boca’s La Bombonera stadium. This makes River Plate slight favourites for the title, but given the events of the past fortnight, almost anything can be expected in Madrid on Sunday.

Boca Juniors boss rejects Conmebol plan for Libertadores final
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Boca Juniors boss rejects Conmebol plan for Libertadores final

Asuncion (Paraguay), Nov 28: The president of Boca Juniors has said that his club will not accept the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) plan for the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final until the regional body rules on its demand for sanctions against River Plate.

“We will not accept to play any match until (the Conmebol Disciplinary Tribunal) speaks,” Daniel Angelici said here on Tuesday night.

The decisive second leg was initially scheduled for Saturday afternoon but was rescheduled for Sunday due to a series of violent incidents around River Plate’s El Monumental Stadium, reports Efe news.

Boca is demanding that the second leg not be played, River Plate be penalized and the Copa Libertadores title be awarded to it.

Executives from both of the Buenos Aires-based clubs travelled to Asuncion on Tuesday for a meeting with Conmebol directors.

The incidents that occurred over the weekend “make it prudent that the final match not be played” in Argentina, Conmebol said in a statement after the talks, announcing that the second leg will take place December 8 or 9 at a neutral site.

“We decided that the match, if it takes place, should be played outside Argentine territory,” Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez said after the meeting.

The Italian city of Genoa has offered to host the match, but there is speculation that Abu Dhabi, where next month’s FIFA Club World Cup tournament will be staged, may be another option.

Angelici categorically rejected the idea of going forward with the second leg.

“We don’t have the mentality to play another final. We are going to wait for the decision and if we disagree, we will go to the Conmebol Court of Appeals,” he said.

“We will exhaust all the options we have inside Conmebol. Once it’s over, we will go to the TAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland), if we have to,” Angelici added.

On Saturday, 30 people were arrested due to violent incidents in the vicinity of River’s stadium, forcing officials to postpone the second leg of the tournament final.

In an initial incident, the team bus carrying Boca Juniors players to El Monumental came under attack by River Plate fans in Buenos Aires’ Belgrano neighbourhood.

Some objects thrown by the rowdy fans shattered the vehicle’s windows. Police responded by using pepper spray to disperse the assailants, but the action, according to team executives, ended up injuring some Boca players.

Later, a crowd of people who had gathered outside the stadium clashed with police while some Boca players were being treated by medical personnel.

Buenos Aires government representatives said more than 100,000 people had gathered around El Monumental Stadium.

The people arrested in connection with the violence were released by judicial officials on Sunday afternoon.

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta blamed soccer hooligans for the violence, saying they were “mafias attached to soccer for more than 50 years.”

The clubs played to a 2-2 draw at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium in the November 11 first leg of the final.

Due to concerns about fighting between supporters of the arch-rivals, away fans had been barred from both legs of the final.

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Boca Juniors deserve Copa Libertadores title: Maradona

Buenos Aires, Nov 27: Diego Maradona has urged South American football governing body CONMEBOL to award the Copa Libertadores winners’ trophy to Boca Juniors after River Plate hooligan fans caused the suspension of the final’s second leg.

The match between the Argentine rivals, originally slated for 5pm local time on Saturday at River’s Monumental stadium, was first pushed back by 24 hours after an attack on the Boca Juniors team bus left several players needing medical treatment, reports Xinhua news agency.

The game was postponed again on Sunday, with Boca Juniors complaining that their players were still physically and psychologically affected by the violence.

“I hope that CONMEBOL will act seriously and declare Boca Juniors the champions. My love for the club aside, there are rules that must be respected,” Maradona wrote on his social media on Monday.

The 58-year-old said that a precedent had been set in 2015, when Boca Juniors were kicked out of the Copa Libertadores after their fans attacked River players with pepper spray in the tunnel at halftime of their last 16 match.

“That was a drop of water (in comparison),” Maradona said, “I prefer to win on the pitch but when the rules are not respected, there has to be a penalty. And in this case the penalty should be to give the points to Boca.”

Maradona, who led Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, played for Boca Juniors during two separate spells in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the manager of Mexican second division side Dorados.

Boca and River drew 2-2 in the first leg of the final at Boca’s Bombonera stadium earlier this month.

CONMEBOL officials are due to meet with representatives of both clubs on Tuesday to decide a new date for the return leg.

This is the first time that Argentina’s two biggest clubs meet in the final of South America’s premier club competition.

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Argentina mulls law to curb soccer hooligans

Buenos Aires, Nov 27: After a Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate had to be suspended twice, after a fan violence incident, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he will introduce harsher laws to tackle hooliganism during games.

In a televised address on Monday, Macri urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would crack down on the so-called Barras Bravas that have cast a long shadow over Argentine football, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We reject the mafias that are often behind this type of violence,” Macri said batting for stricter penalties for football hooligans.

“I hope that after this embarrassment, we can get a law passed in extra sessions of Congress.”

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) officials were likely to meet representatives of both clubs on Tuesday to decide a new date for the return leg, after the rescheduled Sunday clash was also postponed.

Expressing his bewilderment at the fact that Saturday’s perpetrators were released by police, Macri also said: “The people are free. I don’t understand. I don’t understand in the name of all Argentines,” he said. “I don’t understand the reaction of the justice system.”

This is the first time that Argentina’s two biggest clubs have met in the final of South America’s top club competition.

The River-Boca title decider was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon but was pushed back by 24 hours after an attack on Boca’s bus left several players injured.

Boca and River drew 2-2 in the first leg of the final at Boca’s Bombonera stadium earlier in November.

Conmebol issued a statement shortly before Sunday’s planned kick-off, confirming the match at River’s Monumental Stadium had again been postponed at Boca’s behest.

The Barras Bravas — the equivalent of ultras in European football — have been a blight on Argentina football for decades.

In 2013, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) banned fans from attending matches in all divisions after a spate of deaths related to fan violence.

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