Last Night’s Tear Gas Incident at the Superclásico Highlights Argentina’s Soccer Violence Problem

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Yesterday was a difficult day for Argentine soccer. First, there was the tragic death of Emanuel Ortega, and then the hot mess that went down at El Superclásico’s match. Last night, the Boca Juniors and River Plate game ended prematurely after four River Plate players were sprayed with tear gas by a Boca Juniors fan. The attack took place as the players were returning to the field from their halftime break, during the 2nd leg of the 2nd round of La Copa Libertadores (South America’s Champions League).

The incident was initially met with confusion – both players and referees remained on the field for a long time, and it seemed like there was hope that the game would resume. But eventually, River Plate’s doctors stated that the four players were not in condition to play and the game was finally suspended. That didn’t stop players from both teams from staying on the field for more than two hours following the suspension though.

Exacerbating the issue was the fact that Boca players clapped for their fans before finally hitting the showers, giving the impression that they condoned the attack. When Jimena Barón, an Argentine actress and singer who is dating Boca striker Pablo Osvaldo, called Boca out for this, Osvaldo explained that the team always claps their fans before and after the games – and that the actions of one “dumb” individual were no reason not to clap. But the incident wasn’t as simple as the actions of one individual; Boca fans also threw objects at River players when they finally left the field. Basically the whole thing was pura ratcheteria.

River won the first leg of the series (1-0), and Boca will need to score in the remaining half if they want to advance in the tournament – but it’s unclear when the teams will meet again to finish the game. The AFA (Argentine Football Association) president stated that it’s unlikely that the match will be resumed this weekend, and that he will leave it all up to CONMEBOL.

For years, Argentina has been trying – unsuccessfully – to deal with the problem of violence in its stadiums. Anyone unfamiliar with how next level cray fans get should revisit our favorite hincha histérico Tano Pasman:

According to Argentine magazine El Gráfico, there have been 15 violent acts in Argentina associated with professional soccer in 2015. A month ago, after Lanus lost a home game against Argentinos, a home fan attacked midfielder Matías Fritzler while he talked to the press. With a deep cut on his eyebrow and a bloody face, the player had to be held back by others to prevent him jumping into a fistfight with his attacker. Identified as Matías Fadiga, the aggressor was given the worst punishment possible in Lanus’ statutes: his team membership was revoked.