Football: Copa Libertadores decider postponed till today after Boca players hurt in bus attack outside stadium

River Plate fans attacking a bus carrying team members of rival team Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires on Nov 24, 2018.
River Plate fans attacking a bus carrying team members of rival team Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires on Nov 24, 2018.PHOTO: JUAN LENTINO VIA REUTERS

BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS) - The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors was suspended on Saturday (Nov 24) after Boca players were hurt when their bus was attacked outside the stadium by River fans, officials said.

"One can't play in these conditions," Alejandro Dominguez, the president of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), told reporters.

The trouble tarnished what was supposed to have been a landmark day for Argentinian football.

The all-Buenos Aires clash marked the first time Argentina's two biggest clubs have met in the final of the Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Uefa Champions League, and it was widely billed as the greatest final in the competition's 58-year history.

The game was rescheduled for Sunday, kicking off at 5pm local time (4am Monday, Singapore time).

The decision was taken more than two hours after the original start time and after Conmebol twice rescheduled the kick-off in the hope of getting the game played.

Boca players were angry at the original decision to go ahead with the match.

"We're in no condition (to play)," Boca forward Carlos Tevez told reporters shortly before the match was suspended. "They are forcing us to play the game."

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

Videos showed almost all the windows on one side of the Boca team had been shattered.

Argentinian website Clarin said six players had vomited in the dressing-room after ingesting the toxic substance.

Some reports said the substance was tear gas that got into the vehicle after police fired at River fans who were throwing stones and missiles at the Boca bus.

Others reported that the damage was caused by River fans.

 
 

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

Boca and River drew the first leg 2-2 at Boca's ground on Nov 11 and the second leg was taking place at River's home on a sunny Saturday afternoon in front of their own fans.

Away supporters are banned from football matches in Argentina due to recurring violence in and around the grounds.

Saturday's incident occurred three years after a Libertadores last-16 tie between the same teams was abandoned at half-time after Boca fans attacked the River players with pepper spray in the tunnel.

River were given a bye into the quarter-finals and Boca were kicked out of the competition.