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Flood of riots after River Plate demoted

sports Updated: Jun 28, 2011 02:47 IST

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Legendary Argentine football giants River Plate were relegated from the country's top division Sunday for the first time in their 110-year history, amid tears and scenes of violent mayhem.

The Buenos Aires team are Argentina's most successful club with 33 championships to their name, and their rivalry with Boca Juniors, based in the same city, is one of the most intense in all sport.

But there will be no Superclasicos next season unless the two sides draw each other in a cup competition, after River Plate were held 1-1 at home in the second leg of a promotion-relegation playoff with lowly Belgrano de Cordoba.

The Primera B side had won the first leg 2-0, meaning River Plate had to win by two clear goals to stay up under the play-off system rules.

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 Primera Division spot.


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, according to the Federal Police. 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 and the River Plate players and staff could were unable to leave the stadium for about three hours till heavy police escort was provided.

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