MADRID – Argentina’s River Plate arrived at the team’s hotel in Madrid amid tightened security early Thursday, three days before the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Upon their arrival at Eurostras Madrid Tower Hotel, River Plate players – led by coach Marcelo Gallardo – were greeted by a score of fans, who were applauding and chanting.
The Buenos Aires-based team had scheduled to hold a practice session later in the day at Real Madrid’s training facility.
On Nov. 29, the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) announced the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final was to be held in Madrid on Dec. 9.
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, initially following the attack and subsequently to allow players more time to recover.
The first leg was played on Nov. 11 at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium and ended in a 2-2 draw.