Players vomiting from tear gas as Argentinian 'Superfinal' descends into chaos

Deanna Kelley
November 25, 2018

Windows were smashed as River Plate fans threw objects at the Boca Juniors bus ahead of the Copa Libertadores final - the continent's equivalent of the Champions League.

Perez had cuts in his arms, and an eye was hurt by shattered glass.

In a further development, Cesar Luis Merlo, a South American journalist, revealed what appeared to be an official document, signed by a CONMEBOL doctor to say that the injuries to the Boca players are "superficial" and "from the medical point of view there is no reason to suspend the game".

Carlos Tevez, Boca's veteran striker, told media that he and his teammates did not want to play, but were being forced to do so. "Many players suffered, we struggled to breathe".

Fernando Gago said that "many players suffered" in the carnage.

There were desperate attempts to stage the game on its scheduled day, first with an hour's delay, at 6pm local time, and then at 7.15, 7.30 and 7.45, before the abandonment was finally announced to deafening whistles from the 70,000 inside the ground at around 7.20.

A Superclasico final in the Copa Libertadores was always going to be a tense affair but things have gotten out of hand tonight before the second leg in Argentina.

River Vs Boca Juniors Postponed After Players Attacked With Tear Gas
Copa Libertadores final hit by pre-match violence

At the time of writing, there's no official word on whether CONMEBOL have made a decision to delay kick-off though they are believed to be holding discussions.

"One can't play in these conditions", CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez told reporters.

The two sides are competing for the title for the first time in the tournament's almost 60-year history.

Further reports suggest that the driver of the Boca Juniors bus almost collapsed upon arriving at the Monumental due to the effect of the gases, while some of the players were said to be vomiting, with Tévez, Wanchope y Espìnoza among the worst affected.

"They were throwing pepper gas, stones, everything", the Clarin website quoted Juan Carlos Crespi, a member of the Boca delegation, as saying. On that occasion, Boca were disqualified from the competition.

Three years ago, a Copa Libertadores last-16 tie between the two rivals was abandoned at half-time after Boca fans attacked the River players with pepper spray in the tunnel. 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.

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