River - Boca, Copa Libertadores final second leg: when & where?
CONMEBOL's plan is to hold the rearranged second leg at El Monumental in December, but other options are also being considered.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is to decide on Tuesday when and where the second leg of River Plate and Boca Juniors' 2018 Copa Libertadores final is to be played. Although little has been confirmed, several dates and venues are being considered. Ideally, the match will be kept at River's stadium, El Monumental, to maintain the tie's home-and-away format, but a change of ground is not being ruled out, either. The security services are expected to request another daytime kick-off, meanwhile. Putting together all the information at our disposal, some clues can be drawn as to when and where the clash will be.
Where will River-Boca be played?
River president Rodolfo D'Onofrio and his CONMEBOL counterpart, Alejandro Domínguez, have already revealed that the plan is to play the match at El Monumental with supporters present. Despite Saturday's attack on the Boca team bus leading the Buenos Aires city government to impose a temporary stadium closure, they are confident security can be improved and that the rearranged final can go ahead at the ground without renewed fan trouble. However, article 18 of CONMEBOL's statutes says that after events such as this weekend's, South American football's governing body is within its rights to order the game to be played behind closed doors or even move it to another venue.
Were the match to be staged outside of Argentina, the option of taking it to the United Arab Emirates is being contemplated. The reason for this is simple: with the Club World Cup taking place in the UAE from 12 December, the winner of the Copa Libertadores - a trophy that brings with it qualification for the tournament - could then remain in the country for the event. Another alternative is holding the match at a neutral venue elsewhere in South America, in line with the change from a two-legged to single-game final that is due to take effect in next season's Libertadores.
When will River-Boca be played?
There are three dates that CONMEBOL are understood to be considering: Saturday 8, Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 December. Which is chosen will in part depend on the recovery of Boca's Pablo Pérez, as it felt that it is important for the Xeneizes' captain to be out on the pitch after the eye injury he suffered on Saturday.
The best-case scenario would be to schedule the game for 8 December, as it would give the winning team longer to recover from the final and prepare for the Club World Cup. With this in mind, going with either 11 or 12 December appears to be a back-up option. Given the desire for the match to be held during the day, it is likely that a 17:00 kick-off (local time) will again be the choice.