Boca Juniors players hurt in bus attack ahead of Copa Libertadores final

The second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors has been delayed after River fans attacked the Boca bus as it arrived at the stadium.

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"They attacked us from everywhere", said Boca captain Pablo Perez, who was visibly affected by the gas.

River were parachuted into the quarter-finals and Boca were kicked out the competition.

Boca chairman Daniel Angelici had requested the second leg be suspended but CONMEBOL instead announced it would be played after a delay.

The continental cup final between Argentinian archrivals Boca Juniors and River Plate has been postponed following the violent attack on Boca's team bus before the match. The bus was then subjected to a hail of objects, which succeeded in breaking at least three windows.

The head of Conmebol's medical team was reported to be assessing if the match could go ahead after the controversy. "The police were overwhelmed by all the vandalism and had to disperse the River fans with tear gas", said the unnamed official.

River Plate fans smashed Boca's team bus and pepper sprayed players, including talisman Carlos Tevez.

It may also be that the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, a former president of Boca, had reasons to get the game played: he will host the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, starting on Thursday.

Common sense eventually prevailed and Boca's beleaguered players were spared the effort of recovering from tear gas poisoning to play in what has been described as the greatest show on earth after the third attempt to put the match back. It will not be played behind closed doors, which raises the prospect of angry Boca fans making for the stadium to take their revenge.

Local television stations said some players suffered cuts from the broken glass. Police organise scores of River games every year and know where potential flashpoints are likely to occur.

Carlos Tevez beleived that his teammates were in no condition to play. 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.

Meanwhile, 66,000 River Plate fans were in the stadium waiting for a match that has been one of the most anticipated in Argentine football history.

  • Stacy Allen