Boca Juniors players clashed with Brazilian police as the Argentine giants crashed out of the Copa Libertadores last 16 to Atletico Mineiro in South America’s flagship continental club tournament.
The six-time winners, whose Superclasico final against Buenos Aires arch rivals River Plate had to be moved over the Atlantic to Madrid due to fan violence, lost to the 2013 champions from 12 yards out in Belo Horizonte.
With both legs tied 0-0, the Mineirao hosts were able to prevail 3-1 in a penalty shootout thanks to the heroics of Everson, who saved two spot kicks.
Yet a furious Boca side who had a goal ruled out by VAR headed down to the tunnel to get at the match officials – according to Brazilian outlet Globoesporte – who had taken refuge in the home side’s dressing room.
Revoltados com a eliminação, os jogadores do Boca Juniors tentaram invadir o vestiário do Atlético. E quem encarou os argentinos de peito aberto foi o presidente do Galo, Sérgio Coelho. pic.twitter.com/b5EPE61cFv
— O Tempo (@otempo) July 21, 2021
Footage has shown a number of Boca stars including ex-Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo get their hands on objects such as fire extinguishers and metal barriers, which were thrown at the door.
Additionally, Rojo was also caught appearing to punch a security guard with a swift right his near-namesake and compatriot, the former two-weight boxing world champion Marcos Maidana, would have been proud of.
?Más imágenes de una noche caliente en Brasil ??? Carlos Izquierdoz y Marcos Rojo mano a mano con la seguridad de Atlético Mineiropic.twitter.com/dUor5STsrt
— El Gráfico (@elgraficoweb) July 21, 2021
Police were forced to intervene in an attempt to reduce tensions, with reports that they used tear gas on members of the away team and their staff supported by video footage showing a weakened Cristian Pavon stumbling and coughing his way through the corridor.
As Atletico Mineiro player Savio took to social media to reveal injuries suffered in the fracas, it has been alleged that eight members of Boca’s traveling party, including some directors, have been arrested.
The rest of the delegation headed to the police station and refused to leave until their colleagues had been released, with the Argentine ambassador in Belo Horizonte also intervening to stop his compatriots from being detained.
At full-time, Boca midfielder Diego Gonzalez said: “Without a doubt, everyone can see that [we were robbed]. We scored a good goal, and the fact is that we deserved to win the first game as well.
“This hurts, we feel bad. CONMEBOL [the South American Football Confederation] need to look at the refereeing.”
And this was something echoed by club legend and vice-president Juan Roman Riquelme, who remarked: “We compete fairly, we deservedly win both games, yet we are out. It’s difficult when they don’t want to give you the goals.”
“It is worrying, supposedly the issue of the VAR is to be more accurate and not cheat. It is a very nice competition, but this is unfortunate. The Copa Libertadores is not serious or fair.”
As per the lamentable scenes after the full time whistle, Riquleme explained that, “When they were in the locker room, you see a person in a suit who pushed the boys and insults them…The policemen threw gases in the players’ faces.
“They gas, what do you do? Do you defend yourself or do you let them hit you? You see the president throwing bottles, the police…They don’t say anything to them. That’s the truth.”