Buenos Aires Times

sports COPA LIBERTADORES

Postponed with no date: CONMEBOL pulls Libertadores final after violence

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final has been postponed for the second time in as many days following an attack on the Boca Juniors team bus by River Plate fans, CONMEBOL said Sunday.

Sunday 25 November, 2018
River Plate fans wait to enter the Monumental, prior the suspended match of the Copa Libertadores between River Plate and Boca Juniors on Saturday.
River Plate fans wait to enter the Monumental, prior the suspended match of the Copa Libertadores between River Plate and Boca Juniors on Saturday. Foto:AP/Sebastián Pani

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The Copa Libertadores Superclásico final decider between Argentina's biggest clubs, Boca Juniors and River Plate, has been suspended, CONMEBOL has announced.

The regional governing body said Sunday that the second leg of the already postponed final will be rescheduled, after violent scenes on Saturday ended with Boca's team bus being attacked by River fans.

Officials did not define a date for the tournament's crunch decider. A meeting of CONMEBOL officials will be held in Asunción, Paraguay, on Tuesday morning to decide what happens next.

The match between the arch-rivals was due to be played at 5pm local time Sunday after initially being postponed on Saturday following the attack near River's Monumental stadium on Saturday, which left Boca players with injuries from shards of broken glass and suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.

"The conditions are not right for the final match. That is why CONMEBOL has take the decision to postpone the final of the Libertadores and to call a meeting of the presidents of both clubs to find a new date," the body's president, Alejandro Domínguez, said.

The South American federation took the decision after Boca called earlier Sunday for a postponement and demanded that River face a series of punishments including forfeiting the match.

"After the acts of violence suffered in the vicinity of the stadium, Boca... requests the suspension of the game, as well as the application of the corresponding sanctions provided in Article 18," Boca said in a statement on its website.

Among the sanctions available under Conmebol's Article 18 are "disqualification from competitions and exclusion from future competitions." It includes other options, including the deduction of points and being forced to to play a game behind closed doors.

Boca captain Pablo Perez and midfielder Gonzalo Lamardo required hospital treatment after River fans attacked the bus with pepper spray, sticks and stones.

Boca president Daniel Angelici described the scenes on Saturday as "shameful."

'Under equal conditions'

Boca said in a statement that it had asked CONMEBOL, South American football's governing body to suspend the game because the two teams would not play "under equal conditions," in the wake of the attack.

The Xeneize also called for its rivals to be punished or sanctioned.

On Saturday, in a moment of high farce, CONMEBOL's doctors had said there were no medical reasons to suspend the match, as it couldn't inspect the Boca players injured in the attack, one of whom, Pablo Perez, was at hospital being treated. Perez was later forced to return to the Monumental.

CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez eventually folded to pressure and accepted a postponement, just 10 minutes before the delayed kick-off time.

Boca and River drew 2-2 in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final two weeks ago, on November 11, yet efforts to play the second leg in Buenos Aires have been complicated by heavy security operations put in place for the G20 Leaders Summit, which is due to be hosted in the nation's capital next weekend.

Any attempt to play the match this coming week is likely to be shot down by both City and national government officials.

- TIMES/AFP/AP

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