The rescheduled second leg of the Copa Libertadores soccer final between River Plate and Boca Juniors was postponed again on Sunday hours before it was due to start, after Boca complained the match could not be played under fair conditions.
The decisive leg had been set to be played on Saturday but was suspended until Sunday after Boca players were injured when their bus was attacked by River fans outside their Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.
“We don’t want there to be any excuses that conditions were not equal for both teams,” Alejandro Dominguez, the president of the South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL, said on TV. “We want both teams to have time to recover.”
“A sad day for South American soccer,” he later tweeted.
CONMEBOL said officials would meet with the heads of both clubs on Tuesday to discuss a date for rescheduling.
Saturday’s mayhem and questionable management of the stadium caused a national outcry. “Embarrassing” rang out top headline of the news site of local paper Clarin. The front page of a Peruvian sports tabloid called El Bocon went with a blunt one-word headline: “IDIOTS”.
The stadium was shut for several hours late on Saturday when city authorities said it apparently violated safety rules by allowing too many fans to enter, and by locking emergency exits.
Early on Sunday the Boca Juniors club requested the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final be suspended, saying the game could not take place unless conditions were equal for both teams.
It was the first time Argentina’s two biggest clubs had met for the title. The crosstown showdown had been billed as the greatest final in the competition’s 58-year history.
But Saturday’s scheduled final will instead be remembered for the violence that left players bleeding and almost all the windows on one side of the Boca bus shattered.