Thursday, June 21, 2012 | 4:07 p.m.
Soccer is still coming to the desert on Aug. 5, but there’s a change in the matchup.
Originally scheduled for Real Madrid vs. Juventus FC at Sam Boyd Stadium, it will now be Real Madrid vs. Santos Laguna because of a change to Juventus’ Supercoppa Italiana schedule.
Santos Laguna is the Mexican champion, after winning the clausura (Spanish for “closing”) playoff with a 3-2 aggregate victory against Monterrey in May. Santos Laguna, which features Las Vegas High School graduate Herculez Gomez, also won league championships in 1996, 2001 and 2008. Gomez also plays for the U.S. National Team.
“We’re thrilled to have the Mexican champion go against the Spanish champion,” said Daren Libonati, the president and COO of Justice Entertainment Group.
Juventus, the Italian Serie A champ, was originally supposed to open its Supercoppa schedule against Napoli on Aug. 19. However, that game will now be played in Beijing on Aug. 11, forcing Juventus to cancel its North American tour, which also included games in Washington, D.C., (July 28) and in Montreal (July 31).
Libonati said his group had started looking for a replacement in the last 72 hours and started its search by looking for a Mexican powerhouse, which was the original plan before Juventus came aboard. Libonati also wanted to get another champion in the game, which led to Santos Laguna. About half of the 36,000 tickets have already been sold.
Earlier on Thursday, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal reach the semifinals of Euro 2012 with the lone goal in a 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic. Many of his Madrid teammates are still alive in the tournament as Spain plays France in the quarterfinals Saturday at 11:45 a.m. on ESPN2.
Tickets for the World Challenge Football game at Sam Boyd on Aug. 5 can be purchased at UNLVtickets.com.