Argentine football doesn’t seem to be anywhere near finding the light at the end of the tunnel. While the fiasco over delays to the resumption of the domestic football season drags on — the first round of fixtures are now expected to begin on March 3rd at the earliest, if they begin at all — two games that were actually played went down so disastrously that maybe it would have been even better if they hadn’t taken place at all.
Not one, but two Copa Argentina games had to be abandoned during the weekend’s round of preliminary-phase group fixtures because of violence both on and off the pitch.
First, Saturday saw Chubut-province’s local derby between fourth-division sides Huracán de Comodoro Rivadavia and Jorge Newbery, abandoned just after the half-time whistle when Newbery forward Rodrigo Cárcamo was struck by a bottle thrown from the crowd, resulting in a trip to the hospital.
After 25 minutes of consideration — and a clash with opposition players in the hallway leading to the locker rooms — Newbery decided not to return to the pitch, citing frustrations with the manner in which the situation was handled by officials as part of their reasoning, suggesting that the issue may lie in the seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards violence in Argentine football.
Speaking to local news outlet El Patagónico, Cárcamo relayed what happened: “I went towards the tunnel and saw someone from the stands throw a bottle at me… If I hadn’t turned my face it would have hit me on the nose.”
“At the time I felt annoyed but I didn’t want to throw [the bottle] back, because it would’ve gotten worse. I walked towards the tunnel and I realized there was blood. I was overwhelmed with rage and felt completely down.”
— HugoAlejandro Amaolo (@huguiale) February 12, 2017
“No one from Huracán came to see how I was… The referee never came to see if I was okay or if I needed to go to the hospital. At no point did we feel safe”, he explained.
The weekend’s second incident came on Sunday, during Kimberley de Mar del Plata’s clash with Argentinos de 25 de Mayo, when players and staff from both sides became embroiled in a large confrontation 34 minutes into the second-half of a game that was marked by rough tackles and protests throughout.
Argentinos, seen playing in blue, were left with just five players on the field after losing 7 to red cards, forcing referee Víctor Hugo González to suspend the match by law (a team can play with a minimum of seven players).
In the end, Kimberley, who were winning 2-1 at the time, were awarded the victory, meaning they now advance to the second round of the tournament.