Boca Juniors tear-gassed after bus windows broken

Sunday, 25 Nov, 2018

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors had to be postponed for 24 hours on Saturday as a result of an attack on the Boca team bus.

Nine meetings since have ended with three draws, three River wins at La Bombonera and three Boca wins at El Monumental. Having the desired effect, some of the players on board suffered from the ill-effects of this attack.

However, in the build-up to one of the most eagerly awaited matches in recent South American football history, chaos ensued, making it all but impossible for the game to go ahead.

Early reports indicated that at least three Boca players were transported to hospital.

Just over an hour before kick-off Boca's team coach made its way to River's Monumental and was a sitting duck for idiotic home fans milling outside the stadium. On that occasion, River were awarded the game.

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Some reports said Argentine police fired tear gas at River fans who were throwing missiles at the Boca bus and the gas got into the vehicle. Jara and Pablo Perez also suffered cuts from the broken windows. As the driver added: "For me it was a free-fire zone, we were coming to a football match, not to war".

But a statement released by CONMEBOL this evening says the clash has been postponed and will be played at 7.30pm local time, rather than suspended until further notice.

"I would have loved to have played this game", Juan Roman Riquelme reminisced as he reflected on the tie.

Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta was distressed by the scenes and said on Twitter: "Another opportunity lost in front of the whole world that observes us". We don't have a leg to stand on: if we have to play, we are going to play.

However, it was later confirmed the game had been suspended until 5pm local time (8pm United Kingdom time) on Sunday. But it is little solace to the supporters who eagerly awaited this showpiece final, in many cases spending thousands of dollars and travelling vast distances to see the action. It has also been confirmed that fans will still be allowed to attend the re-scheduled game, with a tweet from River Plate's official Twitter account translating to: "We ask all fans to keep their tickets as they will be valid for tomorrow's game which will be played at 17:00". The damage, though, to the reputation of Conmebol and Argentinian football has already been done.