CONMEBOL agreed to postpone the Copa Libertadores final second leg beyond the weekend at Boca Juniors’ request on Sunday.
The planned fixture on Saturday – following the 2-2 draw in the first leg at La Bombonera earlier this month – was marred by an attack on Boca’s team bus as it arrived at the home of bitter rivals River Plate, ultimately leading to the match being pushed back by 24 hours
But Boca reiterated their belief that the game should not go ahead even then, with the future of the fixture now in doubt ahead of a meeting between the various parties.
Omnisport recaps the events across the weekend that led to this decision.
BOCA BUS ATTACKED (Saturday, 15:00 local time)
Setting in motion a scarcely believable sequence of events, the Boca Juniors team bus was attacked by River Plate supporters as it made its way towards El Monumental.
Projectiles from the packed Avenida Monroe showered the vehicle, with some windows smashed, and Boca players arrived at the stadium seemingly affected by the use of pepper spray.
GAME DELAYED BY AN HOUR (Saturday, 16:45)
Around 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time, CONMEBOL announced that the start had been officially moved back an hour to 18:00 due to the attack. This news was confirmed inside the stadium shortly afterwards.
Debido a los hechos sucedidos con el bus del Club Boca Juniors, el partido ha sido postergado hasta las 18:00 horas.
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) November 24, 2018
SECOND DELAY, CONMEBOL REPORTS ‘SUPERFICIAL’ INJURIES (Saturday, 17:45)
As Boca captain Pablo Perez and his team-mate Gonzalo Lamardo were checked out at hospital for potential eye injuries caused by shattered glass, CONMEBOL pressed on for the final to still go ahead. It offered a second revised time of 19:15, while a medical report authorised by the federation described injuries suffered by Boca players as “superficial”.
TEVEZ: WE CANNOT PLAY (Saturday, 18:30)
Carlos Tevez came forward to address the media, speaking to Fox Sports Argentina after CONMEBOL had claimed there was no reason for the match to be suspended.
“We cannot play. They are forcing us to play the match. I understand [CONMEBOL] are under a lot of pressure,” he said. “My headache is just now getting better. We have three team-mates that are in no condition to play.”
PEREZ INCLUDED IN BOCA TEAM (Saturday, 19:12)
Although neither side emerged to warm up in time for the 19:15 kick-off, a team announcement for Boca began to circulate. Remarkably, Perez was included in the starting line-up.
MATCH SUSPENDED (Saturday, 19:22)
Within moments of the Boca XI being named, it was belatedly agreed that the match would be postponed until Sunday. A new kick-off time of 17:00 was announced.
BOCA CALL FOR SECOND SUSPENSION (Sunday, 12:45)
Boca released a statement over four hours before kick-off on Sunday, calling for CONMEBOL to suspend the match and punish River. The visitors had agreed to play with “conditions of equality”.
Comunicado de prensa | El Club Atlético Boca Juniors realizó este domingo una presentación formal ante la Conmebol para solicitar que la final de la Copa Libertadores se juegue en condiciones de igualdad, tal como se firmó ayer en el Estadio Monumental. https://t.co/Ym4UTeFlxy pic.twitter.com/s2KGK86zPi
— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) November 25, 2018
“After the acts of violence suffered in the vicinity of the stadium, having noted the magnitude and seriousness of them and the consequences they have generated in the establishment, Boca considers that these conditions are not met and requests the suspension of the match, as well as the application of the corresponding sanctions provided for in article 18, so that CONMEBOL acts accordingly,” the statement read.
RIVER OPEN EL MONUMENTAL GATES (Sunday, 13:00)
Despite Boca’s complaints, River announced their plans to open the gates to allow supporters to enter the stadium for the second time in two days.
FANS ENTER STADIUM AGAIN (Sunday, 13:30)
Half an hour later than advertised, River fans were once again taking their places at El Monumental.
SECOND SUSPENSION CONFIRMED (Sunday, 14:24)
Bowing to Boca’s wishes, CONMEBOL finally announced the game was off and would not be played this weekend. The decision was made in order to “preserve sporting equality”.
CONMEBOL stated that a date for the second leg to be played would be agreed at a meeting with officials from both River and Boca on Tuesday at the federation’s headquarters in Asuncion, Paraguay.
La CONMEBOL anunció que la final de la Copa Libertadores fue postergada.
— River Plate (@CARPoficial) November 25, 2018
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