The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Saturday rejected an appeal by Boca Juniors to be handed victory from the Copa Libertadores final ahead of Sunday’s decisive second leg against bitter rivals River Plate.

Boca appealed to the CAS claiming they deserved to be handed the win following violent attacks by River fans on Boca’s team bus following the first leg in Buenos Aires last month, which forced the postponement of the second leg and its eventual transfer to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

But the Lausanne-based body said in a statement: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed an urgent request for provisional measures filed yesterday by CA Boca Juniors in which it sought to suspend the second leg of the final of the Copa Libertadores 2018 between CA Boca Juniors and CA River Plate….”

Following the violent clashes which marred the first leg, South America’s football federation CONMEBOL moved the game from Argentina to Spain amid fears of further fan violence. 

The move has been labelled a national embarrassment for Argentina, especially as the Copa Libertadores — South America’s equivalent of Europe’s Champions League — was named after those who secured independence from countries like Spain in the early nineteenth century.

The first leg finished 2-2 at Boca’s Bombonera ground, where away fans were banned from attending. River would have enjoyed the same home advantage at their stadium, El Monumental, for the second leg on November 24 before CONMEBOL’s decision to move the game out of the country.

After previous appeals to CONMEBOL calling for River Plate to be disqualified from the final fell through, thus handing victory to Boca, the CAS ruled likewise.

Sunday’s second leg is scheduled for 2030 local time (1930 GMT). – Agence France-Presse

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