The first leg of the eagerly anticipated Copa Libertadores final between bitter rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate at La Bombonera on Saturday has been postponed due to heavy rain and an unplayable pitch.
Torrential rain in Buenos Aires saw the pitch at Boca’s stadium take on huge amounts of water, as CONMEBOL took the decision to postpone the match.
“The final of the Copa Libertadores between Boca Juniors and River Plate has been suspended due to heavy rain in Buenos Aires.”
It has now been confirmed that the game will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
The flooding in Argentina’s capital city was widespread, and below is a look at the pitch just a few hours before kick off.
It’s a wonder how Giovani Lo Celso didn’t see the field for a single minute this summer for a struggling Argentina. It’s a wonder that Paris Saint-Germain let Lo Celso go out on loan this season.
The 22-year-old has been cast aside a few times over the last five months, and yet he’s still turning heads on the field.
Lo Celso’s latest victim was Europa League opponent AC Milan, who foolishly gave him space 25 yards away from goal, and he took advantage with a stunning dart into the top-left corner that left a full-stretch Gianluigi Donnarumma with no chance but to watch it sail past his outstretched hand. PSG’s loss is Real Betis’s gain.
The goal put the Spanish side 2-0 up, and sent them above AC Milan and into first place in Group F on 7 points. Lo Celso was an absolute workhorse in the match, completing 49/57 passes, creating a game-high four chances, recovering 10 loose balls, completing 4/5 attempted tackles, and intercepting four passes.
Lo Celso has slowly made his way into the Real Betis side on a regular basis, with two full 90-minute performances in the last three La Liga matches for Betis. He has yet to score a league goal, but he has now found the back of the net in back-to-back Europa League matches and is proving to be a critical part of this Spanish side that is on the cusp of breaking into the top half of the La Liga table and could be headed for more should they find a good run of form.
Atlanta United is still sorting out its Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup runs, but 2019 is also coming into focus.
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Reports say that Argentine winger Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez will indeed be the star Atlanta signs to offset to presumed sale of Miguel Almiron, who may be moving to Arsenal amongst several rumored European clubs.
Multiple reports say the Five Stripes’ pursuit of Martinez has paid off, with the River Plate man ready to bring his flashy game to Georgia.
Martinez has 25 goals and 23 assists in 136 matches, and will reportedly cost Atlanta around $17.2 million. TNT Los Angeles says the move will happen January 1.
Martinez debuted for Argentina’s senior national team last month, and scored on debut against Guatemala. He ticks all the boxes for technical director Carlos Bocanegra and president Darren Eales.
Even in a friendly staged nowhere near South America, the Brazil and Argentina rivalry still provided a bit of drama.
Inter Milan’s Joao Miranda headed a stoppage time Neymar corner kick home as Brazil squeezed a 1-0 win out of King Abdulla Sports City in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
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Brazil’s only loss of 2018 remains its World Cup quarterfinal ouster at the hands of Belgium, while Argentina is 5W-2D-4L this year. The wins have come against Guatemala, Iraq, Italy, and Haiti.
There were just six shots on target in the match, four for Brazil, and a whopping 36 fouls.
One of the more intriguing questions in Major League Soccer is what will Atlanta United do with the impending windfall that will arrive following the presumed sale of Miguel Almiron.
Almiron, 25, is looking for a European adventure in 2019 and has no shortage of suitors. He’ll net a significant fee, likely an MLS record.
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Multiple reports say the Five Stripes are looking at Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, the 25-year-old Argentine playmaker with two caps for the Albiceleste. One report claims the move is “very close,” while The Athletic reports there is “still a lot to do” for the move to happen.
According to Transfermarkt, Martinez’s transfer value is about $5 million more than Almiron.
It’s not quite like-for-like, as Martinez is a more prolific finisher at the club level than Almiron was when he joined Atlanta.
Almiron scored nine times between 74 matches between Lanus and Cerro Porteno, while Martinez has 30 goals in 184 matches at a higher level with Huracan and River Plate (Lanus and both of Martinez’s clubs play in Argentina, while Cerro Porteno is in Almiron’s native Paraguay).
Tata Martino is expected to leave Atlanta, but perhaps this means that either the manager could be open to return or that United is eyeing another free-flowing, attack-minded boss.