Superclasico turns into super fiasco after Boca attack

River Plate fans clashing with riot police after the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors on Saturday was postponed.
River Plate fans clashing with riot police after the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors on Saturday was postponed.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A River Plate fan being detained by a police officer.
A River Plate fan being detained by a police officer.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Boca Juniors captain Pablo Perez with an eyepatch after he and teammate Gonzalo Lamardo suffered injuries in the mayhem. TV channel TyC Sports said Perez’s cornea was affected.
Boca Juniors captain Pablo Perez with an eyepatch after he and teammate Gonzalo Lamardo suffered injuries in the mayhem. TV channel TyC Sports said Perez’s cornea was affected.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BUENOS AIRES • A landmark day for Argentinian football ended in a farce after an attack on the Boca Juniors team bus forced the postponement of the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final against rivals River Plate.

Saturday's "Superclasico" was billed as the greatest final in the South American club competition's 58-year history, the first time the title was being contested by the country's two biggest clubs, both from Buenos Aires. But it will now be remembered for the violence that resulted in almost all the windows on one side of the bus shattered and several Boca players bleeding from cuts caused by broken glass.

Alejandro Dominguez, the president of South American football's governing body Conmebol, told Fox TV that the two teams had agreed to hold the game yesterday instead.

He said: "In these conditions, the game was distorted. One team couldn't play and the other doesn't want to play against a rival that isn't in the right conditions."

But the game, to take place at River's Estadio Monumental, was thrown into doubt after the authorities closed the stadium later on Saturday for exceeding capacity limits and failing to keep exits clear.

The dailies Ole and Popular reported that local police "have refused to provide security" and "the game cannot be played on Sunday as things stand".

However, Ricardo Pedace, head of the government's safety agency, told local television that they were "acting quickly" to see if the game could still be played.

Conmebol originally delayed the match more than two hours after Boca's bus was pelted with "pepper spray, sticks and stones" from River fans on the way to the stadium.

Boca captain Pablo Perez and teammate Gonzalo Lamardo suffered eye injuries as a result and TV channel TyC Sports said Perez's cornea was affected.

According to the daily Clarin, tear gas, which was used by police to quell the violence, also got into the bus and six Boca players had vomited from its effects.

There were also scuffles outside the ground as supporters waited for the match to begin.

The two sides are locked at 2-2 after the first leg on Nov 11 and away fans have been banned at all domestic football matches since 2013 because of hooliganism.

Figures from the Salvemos al Futbol charity indicate that more than 300 Argentinian fans have lost their lives over the past 50 years because of football-related violence.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2018, with the headline 'Superclasico turns into super fiasco after Boca attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe