Players were hit by shattered glass and police tear gas during the astonishing incident
The Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors has been postponed after Boca’s team bus was attacked ahead of the game.
Several Boca players suffered injuries from flying shards of glass from broken windows and were also taken ill due to the effects of tear gas used by the police to disperse the crowds around River’s El Monumental Stadium.
CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, initially delayed the match by an hour to 1800 local time (2100GMT) as a result of the violence, and then put it back again until 1915 (2215GMT) before finally announcing it would be postponed.
The monumental clash between two of the world’s most bitter footballing rivals will now take place on Sunday at 8pm UK time, 24 hours later than originally planned.
The game is the second leg of the fixture. The first ended 2-2 at Boca’s Bombonera two weeks prior.
Television footage showed River supporters hurling objects at the bus as it made its way to the El Monumental ground.
Boca’s star man – former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez – was one of those worst affected by the gas.
Their captain Pablo Perez was also cut and taken to hospital, while the bus driver was reportedly knocked unconscious after being hit by a rock.
Images from inside the visitors’ changing room showed a host of players being helped by doctors.
Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta branded the scenes “shameful”, saying on Twitter: “Another opportunity lost in front of the whole world that observes us, shameful, lamentable.”
CONMEBOL had been keen to press ahead with the match regardless of the incident but with Boca making it clear they were in no condition to play, agreed to reschedule the match after fans inside the stadium were left waiting for a number of hours.
Boca’s club secretary said: “The players are all injured, they cannot play.”
Tevez had claimed Boca were being forced to play against their will before CONMEBOL backed down, saying: “They are forcing us to play. The doctors are putting us under a lot of pressure.
“We have three team-mates who are not in a state to play the game. But if we have to play we will play.
“There were a lot of players coughing, wanting to throw up. I had a lot of pain in my throat and my headache is only going away now.”