Bus attack postpones South American soccer final

25 November, 2018, 10:00 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Copa Libertadores final postponed after Boca Jrs bus attack

Argentinian football has a reputation for chaos and violence, and the "Superclasico" rivalry between these two sides lived up to the billing, and then some, before the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final - South America's equivalent of Europe's Champions League.

A meeting is scheduled to take place imminently, with the match now scheduled to go ahead at 10.30pm GMT.

Former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez was amongst those worst affected, and could be seen in clear discomfort as he was escorted inside to the dressing room.

Police attempted to disperse the unruly River Plate fans but their decision to use tear gas backfired as it sprayed through the broken windows and hit the Boca Juniors players.

"They were throwing pepper gas, stones, everything", Clarin quoted Juan Carlos Crespi, a member of the Boca delegation, as saying.

There were unconfirmed reports of six Boca players vomiting due to pepper spray inhalation - with claims it was River fans, not the police, who used the gas.

However, official word came that the game would nevertheless be played on Saturday evening - putting kick off back to 7.30pm local time, until the game was finally postponed until Sunday.

Just minutes before the delayed kick-off, the teams had still not warmed up on the field.

Photos showed Boca captain Pablo Perez with his eye bandaged after being taken to hospital and other players suffered cuts to the face, arms, legs and chest.

CONMEBOL executives met with Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino, who came to Buenos Aires to attend the match, for a final call on whether the final should proceed or not. Only after all of these deadlines had come and gone did the news come that the match would take place Sunday.

Met by a barrage of River Plate fans, the Boca Juniors bus was pelted with missiles and, crucially, tear gas. Argentina has a deep problem of fan violence - hence the ban on away supporters from this final - and, seemingly, a lack of political will to get to grips with it. Had River won, Boca would surely have appealed against the result and in the circumstances, it would have been hard for anybody to concentrate on the actual game.

The first leg at La Bombonera ended in a 2-2 which left the tie on a knife-edge ahead of this return game and it now appears as if tensions have boiled over.



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