The Boca Juniors' team bus was flooded with tear gas after having at least three windows broken en route to River Plate's Monumental stadium, where the second leg of the Copa Libertadores will be held this evening, Saturday, with kick-off planned for 21:00 CEST, though after the disturnbances this is being reviewed.
"I want to say to our families that we are fine because have not had any contact in the changing room". Forensics experts were seen swabbing the inside of the bus, presumably to ascertain the origin of the gas. On that occasion, Boca were disqualified from the competition.
Riot police were deployed to deal with pockets of violence outside the stadium before and after the announcement, as fist fights broke out between supporters and police discharged rubber bullets at fans throwing rocks and other missiles in their direction.
A number of players, including Boca's former Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, were reportedly suffering from dizziness and vomiting and being treated by club doctors.
Boca Juniors captain Pablo Perez and midfielder Gonzalo Lamardo were treated at a hospital after River Plate fans threw projectiles at their team bus on its way to the River Plate stadium in Buenos Aires, Telam reported. Pérez was then named in the starting lineup. "No River player came in to ask how we were doing".
Boca eventually agreed to play, but kick-off was delayed by two and three-quarter hours and it was clear they were playing under protest.
Image River Plate fans receive treatment after the violent scenes
South American soccer's governing body, CONMEBOL, rescheduled the game between Boca and their biggest rivals, River Plate, for Sunday at 5 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) after Boca players were hurt and unable to play the match when shattered glass from the windows and tear gas shot by police got into the team bus.
Violence has long dogged Argentinian football, the dark underside to the color that so attracts foreign audiences.
The two sides later came to an agreement to wait until Sunday for what has been dubbed the biggest club match in the history of Argentine football. CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez also mentioned illustrious guests, such as Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino. It will not be played behind closed doors, which raises the prospect of angry Boca fans making for the stadium to take their revenge.
In the end, though, the decision to postpone was surely the right one.
Later, his ambulance was surrounded by River Plate fans as he left the hospital.