Serious incidents before Boca-River match
The historic 2018 Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors, Argentina’s century-old arch-enemies, was marred by incidents that forced the game to be postponed. The bus carrying the Auriazul squad to the Monumental Stadium in the Núñez neighbourhood of northern Buenos Aires was attacked with stones, sticks and pepper spray by hundreds of River fans waiting on a bend in a street near the stage.
According to the television images of several sports channels, the vehicle entered the stadium with several broken side windows and the players, once they got off, were coughing and with teary eyes due to the effect of the gases. Oscar Moscariello, vice president of Boca, said that “we have injured players, we are not fit to play. Boca’s position is that the match cannot be played. The displacement of the automobile was done with a strong police custody from the exclusive sector of Puerto Madero, in the center of Buenos Aires, to the Monumental.
“It was a lack of control in the last streets near the Monumental. The police were overwhelmed by so much vandalism and had to disperse the River fans with tear gas, which also by the effect of the wind and broken windows entered the bus,” noted, in turn, Juan Carlos Crespi, ex-leader boquense.
“This is an incredible, fantastic, spectacular final. This is like a world final,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Friday in Buenos Aires. Not even the most daring optimist imagined that the 59th edition of the Libertadores would have as its epilogue one of the great classics of the planet football, considered the most passionate by the fervor of its fans.
The fervor of the fans is the condiment of this century-old rivalry between Boca and River, one of the most watched classics and the most popular in the world. Since 2013, Argentina has had a ban on visiting fans accompanying their teams due to recurrent acts of violence.