Thousands of River Plate supporters took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Sunday night to celebrate their team’s historic Copa Libertadores triumph over bitter rivals Boca Juniors.
But there were unsavoury scenes as police were forced to fire baton rounds and volleys of tear gas when some River fans rioted later in the evening.
Though the second leg of the final was played some 6,200 miles away in Madrid because of security concerns, Argentina ground to a standstill to watch River’s 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It was enough to give River a 5-3 aggregate success and prompted an outbreak of wild celebrations in the Argentine capital.
CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, made the decision to move the second leg of the final to Spain after fan violence erupted ahead of the scheduled return game on November 24 at River’s Estadio Monumental.
The Boca team bus was attacked as it arrived at the stadium for the match, with a number of players injured by broken glass and pepper spray, forcing the game to be abandoned.
On November 27, CONMEBOL confirmed the second leg would be played outside of Argentina over security fears, a decision that enraged fans of both clubs.
But in the end, fans across Argentina were glued to television sets as River claimed victory in extra time, winning the trophy for the fourth time in their history.
As Boca fans did their best to hide, thousands of River supporters took to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate, gathering at both the Monumental and the iconic Obelisk in the city’s downtown.
“A minute of silence because Boca is dead”, fans chanted in ecstasy waving the red and white flags from River under heavy rain.
“Christmas Eve is coming Christmas Eve is coming, for every Boca fan this is your daddy’s gift”.
Argentina President Mauricio Macri, a confessed Boca Juniors fan, congratulated River.
“Congratulations to River and all of their fans for the win in this historic match. In Boca we know that football always gives you a time for revenge”, Macri said on his official Twitter account.
Over 2,000 police officers, many in riot gear, were deployed to keep watch on the celebrations and there were some clashes with fans after they moved in the clear the Plaza de la Republica.