River Plate Fans Riot After Team Is Relegated (Video)

Estadio Monumental Antonio club suffer supporter backlash.

Argentina football giants, River Plate, were relegated from the top division for the first time in 110 years amid scenes of violence and tears.

The team from Buenos Aires is the country’s most successful club with 33 titles and their rivalry with neighbours Boca Juniors is one of the most intense in sport.

But River Plate were held 1-1 at home in the second leg of a promotion-relegation playoff with lowly Belgrano de Cordoba, who had won the first-leg 2-0.

The Millionaires got off to the best possible start, Mariano Pavone scoring after just five minutes, but Guillermo Farre silenced the 50,000-crowd with an equaliser for the Cordobans in the 61st minute.

Pavone had a chance to put River Plate back in command with a penalty just nine minutes later, but his spot kick was turned aside by goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave.

As violence erupted among supporters, referee Sergio Pezzotta brought the tie to a close on 89 minutes, giving Belgrano a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in history, as well as in the Primera Division.

River Plate’s players left the field in tears while Belgrano departed under a hail of missiles from the home crowd, as firefighters sprayed water hoses into the stands to try to restore order.

The violence soon spread to the streets outside the stadium, where police used horses and water cannon to control furious fans, television footage showed.

The clashes left 68 people injured, 50 arrested and 15 vehicles destroyed. Two officers were “in serious condition with head injuries from being hit by projectiles,” police said.

About 2,200 police had been deployed for the match.

The 3,000 Belgrano fans who had made the journey to the capital were unable to leave the stadium for two hours, and it was another hour before the River Plate players and staff could do so, under heavy police escort.

“We will resist, we will reformulate the club from now on,” said Daniel Passarella, River Plate’s president, who captained Argentina’s 1978 World Cup-winning side but who is blamed by some fans for the team’s decline.

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