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River Plate to start Libertadores title defense against Alianza Lima in March

River Plate forward Lucas Pratto celebrates a goal against Boca Juniors in the final match of the Copa Libertadores at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid on Dec. 9, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/JuanJo Martin

River Plate forward Lucas Pratto celebrates a goal against Boca Juniors in the final match of the Copa Libertadores at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid on Dec. 9, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/JuanJo Martin

EFE

Argentine club River Plate, the reigning Copa Libertadores champion, will start their title defense with a group-stage match at Peruvian club Alianza Lima on March 6, the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) said.

A day before, Bolivian club Jorge Wilstermann will host 2018 runner-up Boca Juniors, who lost to their cross-town arch-rival in a final played in both Buenos Aires and - due to an outbreak of fan violence - in Madrid.

In other action on March 5, Brazilian club Flamengo will visit the winner of the Bolivian soccer league’s 2018 Clausura championship.

On March 6, Colombian club Junior will host Sao Paulo side Palmeiras.

The 2019 edition of the Copa Libertadores will begin on January 22-23 with three qualifying-stage matches: Delfin (Ecuador) - Nacional (Paraguay), Deportivo La Guaira (Venezuela) - Real Garcilaso (Peru) and Bolivia 4 (the last Bolivian-league qualifier) - Defensor Sporting (Uruguay).

The group stage of the Copa Libertadores - South America’s premier club soccer competition - will run until May 9, with Jorge Wilstermann hosting Colombian club Deportes Tolima and Boca receiving Brazilian side Athletico Paranaense in the final two contests.


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