Ground staff collect the corner flags after the final Copa Libertadores soccer match against Argentina's Boca Juniors was suspended, at Antonio Vespucio Liberti stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. South American soccer body CONMEBOL said on Sunday that the second leg of the final will be rescheduled after Boca’s bus was attacked by River fans on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

CONMEBOL postpones Copa Libertadores final after attack

November 25, 2018 - 12:07 pm
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Copa Libertadores final between fierce Argentine rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate was postponed Sunday in a major embarrassment for South American football.

The game — the continent's equivalent of Europe's Champions League final — had already been put back from Saturday to Sunday after Boca's bus was attacked by River fans.

South American soccer body CONMEBOL said on Sunday that the second leg of the final will be rescheduled, but did not give a date or say whether the venue would be changed. It will meet to discuss the details in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Tuesday.

Boca asked the soccer body earlier Sunday to suspend the game at the Monumental de Nunez Stadium and sanction River for the behavior of its fans.

The first leg on Nov. 11 ended 2-2 at Boca's La Bombonera Stadium. It was originally scheduled to be held Nov. 10 but was delayed 24 hours due to heavy rain.

Boca said in a statement that it told CONMEBOL the two Buenos Aires teams would not be playing under equal conditions after the attack on Saturday. Team captain and midfielder Pablo Perez had an eye injured by shattered glass.

Boca also said it wants River to be punished after the attack near the Monumental de Nunez stadium, including possible disqualification and the title being awarded to Boca.

River had already opened the stadium's gates when the match was suspended. FIFA President Gianni Infantino is in Buenos Aires for the final.

Several Boca players were injured by the attack and some also suffered the consequences of police use of tear gas and pepper spray outside the vehicle.

Boca captain Pablo Perez and teenager Gonzalo Lamardo were taken to nearby hospitals, where fans gathered in support. Perez had injuries to his arms and an eye, according to images of Boca's locker room shared on social media. Lamardo had trouble breathing because of the gas.

One medical doctor, Alejandro Weremczuk, examined Perez and Lamardo and said they should not play.

"The recommendation for any person with an eye injury is not to play, to rest at a place that is proper for the healing," Weremczuk, a River fan, told TV channel Todo Noticias.

After the match was postponed on Saturday, some of the more than 66,000 River fans also tried to storm the teams' locker rooms. Others clashed with police outside.

Boca fans could not attend the final at the Monumental de Nunez Stadium because of a 2013 ban on away fans in Argentina.

Saturday's incident is being compared to another game involving the two sides in the Round of 16 of the 2015 Copa Libertadores.

In a match at Boca's La Bombonera Stadium, fans used pepper spray against River players as they entered the pitch. Several had eye injuries and had trouble breathing. CONMEBOL ruled that River was the winner and advanced to the next phase. Boca had its stadium suspended from international competitions and also was given a financial penalty.

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AP Sports Writer Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report from Sao Paulo.

AP Sports Writer Debora Rey contributed to this report from Buenos Aires.

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