River Plate hooligans attacked the bus carrying the Boca Juniors players to the Monumental stadium Saturday afternoon for the second leg of the Libertadores Cup final, causing injuries to some of them, which resulted in the suspension of the game and its eventual rescheduling for Sunday at 5 pm local time.
Preparations were under way Sunday morning at the stadium and thereabouts. But Sunday dawn Boca Juniors sources reported the club would file a petition before South America's football ruling body to be declared winners, as many of their players are still not at their best to play for a title.
A country and city unable to escort just one bus is one week from hosting the G-20 Summit with dignataries of the highest level from 19 leading world nations are expected to gather. And that is where the spotlight is on. It no longer matters who win and who lose. Because police teargas also affected some Boca players and deterred none of the perpetrators.
Most Argentines felt ashamed for what had happened and were very vocal about it, particularly on social media, feeling hostage to the doings of a few dozen outlaws and the inability of two governments (federal and local) which belong to the same political party to handle the situation.
President Mauricio Macri and Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta have both remained silent about the incidents, perhaps very much aware to the damage done to their images when seeking reelection in 2019. In fact there was very little to be said.
Diego Maradona, now living in Mexico where he coaches a Second Division team, said this is the change people voted for, in reference to Macri's Cambiemos (Let's Change) ruling coalition.
The match was going to make history. And it did. It was to decide which team would become Libertadores Cup champions but instead it made the news all over the world just because... it didn't happen and why.
Kickoff time for Saturday was 5pm. But after what happened a few blocks away from the stadium, the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol)moved it first to 6pm, then to 7.15 pm and lastly to 7.45 pm until presidents of both clubs agreed as gentlemen it was not the right thing to do and settled for a one-day postponement.
As many wondered why the match had not been cancelled right off, Conmebol authorities claimed its doctors had been unable to check on the players to verify their injuries. In fact, the medical commission issued a statement saying so and that under those circumstances there were no grounds from their angle not to go on as planned.
Asked whether the doctors had been allowed into the changing rooms given the release of that statement, Boca's Carlos Tévez smirked and replied they are under a lot of pressure, these doctors...
Boca's Pablo Pérez was ferried in an ambulance to a clinic with a sore eye. He had a patch on it when he arrived back.
River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo - who is banned from sitting at the bench due to a Conmebol disciplinary measure - admitted the show must not always go on.
If the match of the matches pitching the two most important teams in the country against each other turned out to become a question for authorities to rule upon, then whatever happens on the field is no longer worth the grass it is played on.
(MercoPress - Buenos Aires)