Second leg of Copa Libertadores final postponed until Sunday due to violence
At least 29 people were arrested Saturday due to violent incidents in the vicinity of El Monumental Stadium in the Argentine capital, prompting a decision to postpone the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Buenos Aires clubs and arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate, police told EFE.
The game was initially scheduled for Saturday afternoon but instead will start on Sunday at 5 pm.
In an initial incident, the team bus carrying Boca Juniors players to El Monumental, River’s home ground, came under attack by River Plate fans in Buenos Aires’ Belgrano neighborhood.
Some objects thrown by the rowdy supporters shattered the vehicle’s windows. Police responded by using pepper spray to disperse the aggressors, but the action ended up injuring some of the Boca players, according to that team’s executives.
Later, a crowd of people who had gathered outside the stadium engaged in violent clashes with police while some Boca players were being treated by medical personnel and team officials and representatives of South America’s Conmebol soccer federation, which organizes the Copa Libertadores, were discussing whether the match should be postponed.
Buenos Aires government spokespersons said more than 100,000 people had gathered around El Monumental Stadium, while police said that 29 people had been arrested thus far in the ongoing disturbances.
Conmebol had pushed back the start time for the second-leg contest on two occasions due to the unrest before deciding to re-schedule it for Sunday.
The teams played to a 2-2 draw at Boca’s La Bombonera Stadium in the Nov. 11 first leg of the final of Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club soccer tournament.
Due to concerns of fighting between supporters of the arch-rival clubs, away fans had barred from both legs of the final.