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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Copa Libertadores: Boca Juniors supporters give team send-off amid security threat - in pictures

Police probing threat as fans gather late on Tuesday night near stadium to wish players well before flight to Madrid, where they play final against River Plate

Police evacuated La Bombonera stadium, home to Argentina’s Boca Juniors club, hours before a rally to back the team as they prepare to play crosstown rival River Plate in Madrid for South America’s championship.

Police were still investigating the threat, La Nacion and Clarin reported, citing police. Fans gathered on late on Tuesday night near the stadium to wish the players well before their flight to Madrid on December 9.

Already one of football’s fiercest rivalries, the South American championship has been marred by delays and violence. President Mauricio Macri of Argentina called the attacks on players on November 24 a “national embarrassment” and pledged to crack down on hooligans.

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Read more:

River Plate manager Gallardo blasts 'absurd' decision to move final to Madrid

Copa Libertadores: River Plate reject proposal to play Boca Juniors in Madrid

Hernan Crespo wants Copa Libertadores final must be played in Argentina

UAE ready to host Copa Libertadores final ahead of Fifa Club World Cup

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The Argentine league banned fans from visiting teams from attending matches that were not at their home club years ago. Macri is the former president of Boca.

The game was postponed on November 24 after River fans pelted the bus carrying Boca’s players, injuring the captain and breaking the vehicle’s windows. The replay was called off again on November 25 after the regional football body, Conmebol, said the conditions to play the game were not existent.

Conmebol decided that the game cannot be played in Argentina and set the match for December 9. River have said they are against the game being played abroad.