River Plate confirm flight to Madrid for Libertadores final

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


The River Plate team will leave for Spain on Wednesday to play the second leg of the highly controversial Libertadores Cup final, the club announced on Monday.

In a statement to the South American football federation CONMEBOL, the Argentinian club said the team would leave for Spain "Wednesday at 1400 local time (1700 GMT) in a charter flight from Ezeiza airport".

River Plate had earlier said it was opposed to moving Sunday's match against fierce local rivals Boca Juniors from Buenos Aires to the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Coach Marcelo Gallardo had called it "absurd", adding that his side had lost home advantage.

River should have hosted the match at their own El Monumental stadium on November 24 but it was postponed after River Plate fans attacked the Boca Juniors team bus.

Several Boca Juniors players including Pablo Perez needed hospital treatment for injuries caused by shards of glass and others complained about the effects of inhaling teargas in the attack.

Boca then refused to play the match and it was postponed 24 hours, only to then be called off indefinitely the next day.

Boca petitioned CONMEBOL to be awarded the trophy, but that was rejected.

The first leg at Boca Juniors' Bombonera Stadium had finished 2-2.

CONMEBOL then switched the match to Madrid, a decision opposed by both Argentinian clubs.

Boca have not announced the timing of their team departure although, according to the local press, the indications are that they will leave on Tuesday evening with fans preparing farewell festivities for Tuesday afternoon in the neighborhood of La Boca.

On Monday, Boca and River put on sale the 5,000 tickets that each club has for fans living in Argentina. They cost 3,600 pesos (84 euros) -- about a quarter of the average salary in Argentina.

In Spain, 20,000 additional tickets for River fans not residing in Argentina sold in a few hours, a source close to the organisation told AFP.

Another 20,000 for Boca fans living outside the country will go on sale from Tuesday.

The second leg of the Libertadores Cup takes place in Madrid on December 9.