Boca Juniors players hurt in bus attack ahead of Copa Libertadores final

25 November, 2018, 09:59 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Violence erupts as Copa Libertadores final postponed due to bus ambush

Saturday's "superclasico" Copa Libertadores final second leg was delayed more than two hours after Boca Juniors players were affected by tear gas and broken glass after their team bus came under attack from rival River Plate fans on the way to the stadium in Buenos Aires. Its police escort made what locals say was the surprising decision to turn down Avenida Monroe, where it was surrounded by River fans and pelted with missiles.

And another video showed the ambush by fans. Forensics experts were seen swabbing the bus, presumably to determine the origin of the gas.

A riot policeman fires his gun after the match was postponed
A riot policeman fires his gun after the match was postponed

Footage also emerged of the Boca bus approaching the stadium at high speed, trying to avoid the barrage from the River Plate fans. River fans clashed with police outside the stadium as tear gas and rubber bullets were fired.

The full document read: "I'm writing to you to inform about today's incidents in which Boca players suffered superficial skin injuries to their arms, legs, face and torso, with two players [those sent to hospital] reportedly suffering eye injuries which our medical team has not been able to confirm".

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He said: "We are not in condition to play. We can't play like this". His colleagues, even with time to recover from the effects of ingesting a toxic substance, could not possibly have been at their psychological peak for what is nearly certainly the biggest game they will ever play and the biggest game in the history of South American club football.

The two sides later came to an agreement to wait until Sunday for what has been dubbed the biggest club match in the history of Argentine football.

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All of which leads to an obvious question: Why did it take so long to decide that the game should be pushed back to Sunday? The president of Conmebol, Alejandro Dominguez, had spoken on Friday of the need to separate the passion from the violence, and the difficulties of doing so.

In anticipation of yet more ugly scenes, it had been suggested that the rearranged match would take place behind closed doors, but later confirmed that the match would in fact be played in front of fans. 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 damage, though, to the spectacle and to the reputation of Argentinian football had already been done.

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