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River president challenges Boca chief to play Libertadores final

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By AFP
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River Plate president Rodolfo D’Onofrio called on Boca Juniors counterpart Daniel Angelici to honour his “word” and play the postponed Copa Libertadores final second leg.

The clash between the two historic Argentine rivals was due to take place in Buenos Aires on Saturday but was suspended after Boca players were injured in an attack by River fans on their team bus as it headed to the Monumental stadium.

The two presidents shook hands on an agreement to postpone the match to prevent River gaining an unfair advantage, but Angelici has since petitioned South American football’s governing body Conmebol to have River expelled and thus be awarded victory without playing.

“If the Boca president is watching me… End this, stop appealing, come and play,” said D’Onofrio in a press conference.

“Let’s play the game, let’s not invent things, you signed (an agreement) with me. You gave me and the Conmebol president (Alejandro Dominguez) your word and now you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing.”

The second leg match — due to be played two weeks after the sides drew 2-2 at Boca’s Bombonera ground in the first leg — was first postponed to Sunday and then indefinitely after Boca refused to play.

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Their players suffered cuts from broken glass and the effects of smoke inhalation after their bus was pelted with objects thrown by River fans, shattering windows.

In a meeting at Conmebol’s Asuncion headquarters on Tuesday, and attended by the two club presidents, the governing authority said the match would now be played on the weekend of December 8-9, but outside Argentina.

Angelici, though, said on Tuesday that Boca “have no intention of playing another final.”

He even vowed to take his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if he has to.

On Monday, D’Onofrio had already accused Angelici of “betrayal” in submitting the appeal to Conmebol’s independent disciplinary body.

Both the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, and even Argentina President Mauricio Macri, a fan and former president of Boca, have accepted responsibility for the “security failure” around the match.

The security minister for the Argentine capital, Martin Ocampo even resigned.

Conmebol’s disciplinary commission is expected to rule on Boca’s appeal on Wednesday.

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