Copa Libertadores final – What happens next to Boca and River Plate?

Copa Libertadores logo

Written by Luke Weaser-Seychell (@Luke_Seychell)

When it came to fruition that Boca Juniors and River Plate would be the final for the Copa Libertadores, the footballing world was excited. It would be the first ever cup final in the South American Champions League between these two fierce rivals.

This breathtaking final, a ‘Superclasico’, was seen not only with joy but also with slight nerves by neutrals. That is because this derby is more than just a game for their fans. For some, it is their life, they can’t afford to lose.

However, what happened during the second leg of the tie was worse than anyone could have imagined and demonstrated how much football means to these two sets of fans.

Apart from minor confrontations between both sets of fans in the first leg of the final, the tie was beautifully set up for the second leg. The two teams played out an entertaining 2-2 draw. The celebrations after each goal were beautiful and fans from all across the globe tuned in.

However the first leg did have its share of drama off the pitch, with a 24 hour delay due to torrential rain. It just seemed to create more suspense for the tie.

The anticipation started to boil over for the second leg and it got all too much for the River Plate fans who attacked the Boca Juniors team coach.

This shameful attack led to many injuries for the Boca Juniors staff and players who suffered cuts from broken glass and were dizzy and vomiting. Tear gas was also used in the attack on the coach, though it is unclear whether that was the police or the River fans.

With a couple of players rushed to hospital, coming back with bandages over their eyes, the world sadly watched on as Argentina showed us the ugliest side of football.

Incidents between the two teams have happened in the past; three years ago in this exact competition, during the round of 16, Boca fans attacked the River Plate players at half time. This caused the game to be abandoned, meaning Boca were kicked out of the competition and River Plate were allowed to proceed to the next round.

This attack on the Boca Juniors team coach has caused the second leg to be postponed for the foreseeable future, and not only has it embarrassed Argentinian football, but also for CONMEBOL, the South American version of UEFA, who now need to decide what to do.

In a game that many said was one neither side could lose, maybe the best next step is to void the final and just accept that this highly anticipated game was too much for all involved.