Copa Libertadores Final Moved to Sunday After Boca Juniors Bus Attack

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2018

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 24: Police officers stand guard prior the second leg final match of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 between River Plate and Boca Juniors on November 24, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Demian Alday/Getty Images)
Demian Alday/Getty Images

CONMEBOL moved the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate to Sunday after River Plate supporters attacked the Boca Juniors team bus prior to Saturday's scheduled fixture.

According to Argentine soccer writer Daniel Edwards, the final will be Sunday at 5 p.m. local time.

The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson reported that River Plate supporters "pelted the bus with missiles" and that video footage showed five windows from the bus had been shattered. According to Wilson, Boca midfielder Pablo Perez suffered an eye injury resulting from the attack.

Citing reporting from Argentine outlet Clarin, Reuters' Andrew Downie wrote Boca players were also dealing from the effects of tear gas police used outside of El Monumental in an attempt to break up the crowd of fans. The tear gas wafted into the Boca Juniors bus, with six players vomiting in the team's dressing room.

Wilson described a scene in similar terms: "Many were still coughing and retching, eyes watering, as they walked from the bus into the dressing room."

CONMEBOL first delayed the match for an hour. The New York Times' Andrew Das noted why rescheduling proved tricky.

Andrew Das @AndrewDasNYT

For those asking, why don’t they just wait and play the game? G20 summit, featuring Trump, Putin, Xi and other leaders, opens Friday. Argentine security apparatus — almost no country’s security — could handle both next Saturday. https://t.co/HFTmbCEC7G

The Independent's Miguel Delaney shared a letter from CONMEBOL doctors who argued there wasn't a valid medical reason to delay the fixture.

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Conmebol medical dept say there’s no reason not to play https://t.co/CDPaA4QZos

According to journalist Mootaz Chehade, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was in attendance for the Copa Libertadores final and informed Boca president Daniel Angelici the club risked disqualification from the competition if the players refused to play.

However, CONMEBOL ultimately decided to move the final, which many argued was the only proper response to the situation.

Peter Coates @golazoargentino

Just a wee tip for @CONMEBOL but when River are in agreement with Boca that the game shouldn't be played it means you are probably in the wrong if you say it should

The first leg between Boca and River Plate ended in a 2-2 draw at La Bombonera. Carlos Izquierdoz's own goal in the 61st minute made things all square and prevented Boca from carrying a 2-1 lead into the final match.