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Soccer Fans In Argentina Outraged After Players Maced During Match

Fans from a rival team allegedly unleashed mace or pepper spray inside a tunnel as players re-entered the field Thursday night. Now, the "Super Classic" match is being dubbed a "super shame" by fans.

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Ramiro Funes Mori of Argentina's River Plate, center, and teammates wash their faces after encountering mace or pepper spray in a stadium tunnel.
Victor R. Caivano / AP

Ramiro Funes Mori of Argentina's River Plate, center, and teammates wash their faces after encountering mace or pepper spray in a stadium tunnel.

The bitter rivalry Argentinian soccer teams Boca Juniors and River Plate took a violent, bitter turn on Thursday at the Conmebol tournament.

The melee started when Boca fans doused a tunnel with peppers spray or mace as members of the rival River team entered the field.

River players stumbled onto the field to start the second half of the scoreless match covering their faces, rubbing their eyes, and dousing themselves with bottles of water, the Associated Press reported.

River said in a statement that at least four players were diagnosed at the hospital with inflamed corneas, while several more suffered burns from the spray.


Former Argentine player and manager, Carlos Bilardo, told local television that Thursday's episode was not the first:

In New York, Italy or England, [violent cases like this] have been worked out by entering in the stadium and taking out those who commit this crimes. This is not an isolated case, this has been going on for a long time and it has to end.

On Friday, fans reacted with the hashtags #MatanAlFutbol (#TheyKillSoccer) and #SuperVergüenza (#SuperShame), which trended on Twitter in Argentina.

#MatanAlFutbol Basta de violencia el futbol es pasion.

#TheyKillSoccer Stop the violence, soccer is passion.

Ellos son cómplices de todo! Con BOCA nose jode #90MinutosFOX #MatanAlFutbol #SuperVerguenza

#ItWasThePolice Cristina (the president), Berni and River. The truth must be told.

They are accomplices of everything! With Boca, we'd better not mess it up. #90MinutosFox #TheyKillSoccer #SuperShame


#TheyKillSoccer Here's the true photo, so that people see that it was a police officer who attacked the players.

Attackers were labelled as "maladjusted" and "unpunished" — among other derogatory terms — in a nation where soccer reigns supreme.

Estos inadaptados con la impunidad que le dan políticos de turno, policías y jueces corruptos #MatanAlFútbol

In Argentina, "barrabravas" (similar to the English term "hooligans"), often play roles that go beyond their support of a team or sport.

Several reports by local media outlets, such as Cancha Llena from the respected newspaper La Nación , have put a spotlight on how, on several occasions, "barrabravas" are hired as muscle by politicians.

#MatanAlFutbol como hincha de boca, vergüenza impresentable estos inadaptados, lamentable !!

#TheyKillSoccer As a Boca fan, I am extremely ashamed for these maladjusted, I am so sorry!

Some fans have been debating online what was really behind Thursday's episode, including whether it was planned well in advance.

Nada fue casual, estaba preparado, hace tiempo que la violencia le gano al #futbol. #SuperVerguenza

Nothing was by chance, it was prepared. Long time ago, violence won #soccer. #SuperShame.

#MatanAlFutbol estaba pensado ya estoy vergüenza los dirigentes , jugadores aplaudiendo años barras..

#TheyKillSoccer This was planned. I am ashamed of soccer managers, soccer players clapping the barras (hooligans)...

Some people even compared the tunnel incident with Cromañón, a nightclub where 194 people died in 2004 after someone lit a flare inside.

Las bengalas #MatanAlFútbol.. Y las facas en la 14 no..

Flares #KillSoccer.

In drawing the comparison, fans point to the "one person" who lit the flare in Cromañón, and the "one person" seen throwing pepper spray or mace into the stadium tunnel.

Regardless of who carried out the attack, the incident appeared to exacerbate frustrated fans.

Que se vayan todos, que no quede ni uno solo #MatanAlFutbol #Mercenarios

Some even invoked the phrase "Everybody, out!" in referring to soccer players and their supporters.

During Argentina's economic meltdown of 2001, the motto "Everybody, out!" was directed at politicians, illustrating the public's discontent with elected officials.

Frustration, however, took its most potent form with the hashtags #TheyKillSoccer and #SuperShame.

Tears because of pepper spray?

No, i am ashamed of Argentine soccer.

Viendo toda esto desde afuera, la imágen que siento que más nos representa como sociedad es esta. #SuperVerguenza

Seeing all this from outside, the image that I think represent us [Argentine people} the best us this one. #SuperShame.