South America’s premier soccer league championship match, Copa Libertadores, has been postponed for a second time following an attack on the team bus for the visiting Boca Juniors on Saturday while it was on the way to the stadium in Buenos Aires. The final was pushed back to Sunday after the incident, but officials for CONEMBOL, the governing body of South American soccer, announced Sunday that the match would be rescheduled. The organization did not say when the game would take place, but it will meet Tuesday, per the Associated Press.
“We have to analyze a sports inequality. The conditions cannot be met — a team has been attacked,” CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez said. “The image shown to the world because of the actions of a few misfits is embarrassing. This is not what soccer is about.”
Boca players had sustained cuts and bruises to their legs and “corneal abrasions” during the attack Saturday, according to medial reports obtained by the international press, though the team did not permit doctors from CONEMBOL to examine the players. Boca was on its way to play the second leg of the final against home side River Plate of Buenos Aires; the first leg, played earlier this month, ended in a 2-2 tie.
Wooden sticks and stones were used by the assailants to break the windows of the Boca bus, causing harmed to players from the projectiles and shattered glass, the team said. They also suffered the effects of tear gas police used to disperse the crowds.
The bus driver told the Guardian he fainted during the attack and Boca vice president Dario Richarte took the wheel.
CONEMBOL initially said it would delay the match by an hour after complaints from Boca coaches, then extended the delay to 2 hours 15 minutes, before eventually postponing the match until Sunday.
“We are not ready to play this match as we were,” Richarte said to the Associated Press.
The CONEMBOL doctors who issued the medical report on Boca players' injuries concluded, “From a medical point of view, there does not exist a cause for the suspension of the match.”
Boca continued protesting that delay, while Dominguez consulted with FIFA President Gianni Infantino on how to proceed, according to the Associated Press.
Just before 5 p.m., referees took the field to warm up, and event staff continued with routine pregame procedures. Police clashed with demonstrators around the stadium and in downtown Buenos Aires over the incident. The match has been dubbed “The Game of the Century,” because it is the first time the popular Argentine sides met in the Copa Libertadores final.
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