To say things got a little heated after Atlético Mineiro eliminated Boca Juniors from Copa Libertadores Tuesday night would be putting it entirely too mildly.
Boca Juniors players and personnel threw guardrails and attempted to confront opposing players and officials only to be subdued by pepper spray after their ouster on penalty kicks, with the real anger stemming from a goal in each leg of the round-of-16 series that was taken off the board by VAR.
Atlético Mineiro advanced after the 0–0 aggregate draw, with Boca's meltdown occurring during the PKs prior to it bleeding over into the tunnel. After Marcos Rojo's successful conversion, the Argentine side missed three straight penalties to go out 3–1 in the shootout. Making matters more humiliating, it was Atlético goalkeeper Everson who converted the decisive spot kick that sent the Brazilian side to the quarterfinals.
From there, things got incredibly ugly:
Atlético Mineiro tweeted a description of what transpired, saying that club president Sérgio Coelho was even involved in trying to keep Boca from entering the home locker room. The club added that property in the stadium was damaged before police and security used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
According to The Associated Press, players spent the night in a team bus outside a police station in Belo Horizonte and that the Argentine ambassador to Brazil indicated the club would be returning home Wednesday afternoon. Coelho also reportedly negotiated so that Boca players could testify to authorities about what occurred but that nobody would be arrested.
More from the AP:
Police in the city of Belo Horizonte said they had questioned six members of the Argentine delegation, two of whom were fined 3,000 reals ($575) each for damages. The other four were charged with bodily injury and contempt and are supposed to appear in court at a later date.
Regardless of the legal ramifications, Boca can expect to hear from CONMEBOL regarding its collective conduct, the nature of the controversial calls that led to its demise in the competition notwithstanding.
"Without a doubt, everyone can see that [Boca was robbed]. We scored a good goal, and the fact is that we deserved to win the first game as well," Boca's Diego Gonzalez said Tuesday night. "This hurts, we feel bad. CONMEBOL needs to look at the refereeing."
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