The much-anticipated clash between River Plate and Boca Juniors will not kick off as scheduled after the Bombonera pitch was submerged
Boca Juniors and River Plate’s Copa Libertadores final has been provisionally suspended after heavy rainfall lashed the streets of Buenos Aires.
The Argentine capital has received nearly 12 hours of constant precipitation since the early hours of Saturday morning.
That downfall has left Boca’s Bombonera and surrounding areas partially submerged, with large parts of the playing surface waterlogged.
And roughly two hours before the scheduled kick-off time of 5pm (8pm GMT) both teams were told to stay in their hotels to await further information.
CONMEBOL must now decide whether to push back the start of the match or reprogram for a later date, with Saturday November 17 a potential option.
Meanwhile, thousands of Boca fans have already made their way to the Bombonera, which will only be open to home supporters for this historic final.
Earlier, supervisor Fernando Jaúregui had insisted that the first leg of this highly-anticipated Superclasico would be played as planned.
“Don’t worry, the pitch is in good condition. It will be a bit heavy but it will be fine. Nothing is going to be called off,” he told reporters.
Conmebol director of communications Fred Nantes had struck a more careful note in his statement to the press, however, though he believed that the stadium’s drainage would help clear the water.
“We’ll know that around 11:30 or 12:00 (CET 15:30.16:00) the rain is expected to ease off,” he had noted, a prediction that ultimately proved optimistic as the rains continues to beat down.
“The drainage system around the pitch is working perfectly.”
The famous Superclasico is being played for the highest stakes in its history.
River and Boca will meet in the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition, for the first time, in a two-legged decider that has paralysed an entire country even before a single ball has been kicked.
Boca downed Brazil’s Palmeiras 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-final to book their place in the final, while River overcame holders Gremio on away goals in a thrilling if controversial clash.
River coach Marcelo Gallardo is banned from attending the first leg in the Bombonera after defying his touchline ban in the last game in Porto Alegre, a move that prompted the beaten side to make an unsuccessful request that the Millonarios be eliminated from the competition.
Supporters can watch the game, if it does go ahead, live on Goal in the United Kingdom.