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The Copa Libertadores final was postponed after Boca bus was attacked



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Luis Anders Henao and Deborah Rey, The Associated Press

Published Sunday, November 25, 2018 08:00 EST

Last Updated Sunday, November 25 2018 8:14 EST

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina expects the end of the century between the biggest clubs in their country and their eternal rivals. Instead, the world witnessed one of the most embarrassing things in the history of South American football.

The Copa Libertadores final was postponed until Sunday after Boca Juniors players were injured when their bus was attacked by River Plate fans.

CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez announces a decision on Saturday, only 10 minutes before the final should begin.

"One team does not want to play and the other does not want to win under these conditions," Dominguez said.

Boca players were injured on their buses just a few blocks from River's Monumental de Nunez Stadium when rocks and pieces of wood thrown by River supporters destroyed windows.

Some players are also affected by tear gas and pepper spray used by the police to quell violence.

Captain Boca Pablo Perez and teenager Gonzalo Lamardo were taken to the nearest hospital, where fans gathered to support. Perez suffered injuries to his arms and eyes, according to the Boca dressing room images that were shared on social media. Lamardo has difficulty breathing because of gas.

Earlier, CONMEBOL said in a statement that its doctors noted Boca players "suffered superficial skin wounds" and two "said they had eye injuries, which cannot be confirmed."

"We believe that under the medical perspective there is no reason to suspend the match," said doctors from the South American football body.

Dominguez did not agree.

"This is football, not war. No team wants to play because this match is not natural," he said.

Dominguez met with club director and FIFA President Gianni Infantino before he announced a delay.

"There is a male agreement with the two clubs," Dominguez said. "There have been requests from both clubs for the match to be suspended."

The game was called "The Final For All Time" because it was the first time the two fierce rivals had met in the final of the most popular club tournament in South America.

CONMEBOL initially delayed the second leg kickoff for one hour, then postponed it for 2 hours, 15 minutes until 7:15 noon. local time (2215 GMT).

After the match was stopped, fans clashed with police outside the stadium. At least 30 people were arrested, according to local media.

Some of the more than 66,000 River fans also tried to storm into the locker room, interfering with a sudden TV interview from the president of the Rodolfo D River Onofrio.

"We want to play a match that is head to head," he said before he was forced to run inside monumental de Nunez. "It is regrettable that a divine feast like this is disrupted by 15 hooligans. We are stopped from playing matches that are being watched all over the world."

D & # 39; Onofrio also said "there should be adequate prevention" to guide the Boca bus safely to the stadium.

Buenos Aires public security secretary Marcelo Alessandro admitted there was a security failure that paved the way for the attack.

Boca President Daniel Angelici was escorted by guards and security forces inside the stadium while River fans shouted "Coward!"

"The match must be won and lost on the pitch. But we are not in the same condition to play," Angelici said. "As an Argentine and as a football executive, I am embarrassed … look at the spectacle we give to the world."

The first leg of the Copa Libertadores final was played three weeks ago and ended 2-2. It was delayed one day after heavy rains flooded the field at the Boca La Bombonera stadium. Boca fans were not permitted at the River stadium after a 2013 ban on visiting supporters aimed at fighting the violence of Argentine endemic football. But that is not enough. There is no game that looks more unstable than Boca vs. River.

"It's a shame. Security failed," said Pablo Wende, a disappointed River fan when he left the stadium with his sons Federico and Luca, who wore a team white shirt with a red diagonal band.

"We look forward to this final, like everyone in the world."

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