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Argentina: River Plate Football Club Relegated to Second Division

River Plate, one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in Argentina and in the world, founded on May 25, 1901, has suffered one of its worse defeats in national football. On June 26 it tied with Belgrano Athletic Club in a match where its membership of the first division of Argentine football was decided.

Before a packed stadium of sympathizers and fanatics, the 1-1 tie wasn't sufficient for River Plate (also known as “the millionaires”) since it had to score two goals to be able to maintain its continuity [es] in the category. The first goal scored five minutes into the start of the match was not enough.

Worldwide, Argentine football is known for one of its classic matches, as is Boca Juniors v. River Plate. But with this result, until River Plate returns to first division, fans will not be able to enjoy the Argentine classic.

River Plate Monumental stadium. Photo: Maximiliano Neira (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

River Plate Monumental stadium. Photo: Maximiliano Neira (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The reactions were swift. On Twitter, with the hashtag #sebuscaclasico (in search of a classic), among jokes [es] and disillusionment [es] the search has begun for a new Argentine classic.

Other popular hashtags have been #pavone (referring to Mariano Pavone, striker for River that scored a goal and missed a penalty kick), #olave (referring to Juan Carlos Olave, goalie for Belgrano that contained Pavone's penalty), #riber (changing the ‘v’ of River for ‘b’, the category to which it descended) and #burroandres (the successor of Paul the Octopus of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa).

Twitter user @ivanapar writes:

Es increíble lo que significa el fútbol para los argentinos. Increíble. #SeBuscaClásico

It is incredible what football means for Argentines. Incredible. #SeBuscaClásico

Meanwhile Fernando G. Toledo (@fernandogtoledo) warns:

#Boca Aprendamos de lo que pasa en la vereda de enfrente para evitar una caída similar #RiBer#sebuscaclasico

#Boca Learn what's going on across the street to avoid a similar fall #RiBer #sebuscaclasico

Also on Facebook, on the River Plate [es] page, Dario Maidana writes [es]:

naci de river y voy a morir siendo de river en las buenas y en la malas te amo mas que nunca River Plate

I was born a river fan and I am going to die a river fan in the good times and the bad times I love you more than ever River Plate

But the reactions were not only happening in Argentina. In Peru, Chile, Mexico, Colombia and other countries related hashtags became local Trending Topics and Adios River‘ (Goodbye River) became a global Trending Topic as Adam Kosnác (@scoooty27) reports from Canada:

AdiosRiver trending worldwide. Well, I always preferred Boca, so i'm fine.

Sports journalist Michael Hortin (@michaelhortin), from Lincolnshire, England says:

Adios River Plate. Argentina's biggest club relegated for 1st time in 110 years

Minutes before the end of the match, serious incidents happened in River Plate's Monumental stadium, which was protected by more than 2,500 police officers. These incidents will also go down in the history of football. Up until now, it is estimated that more than 40 people were injured. The newspaper  Infobae [es] relates part of what occurred:

Los incidentes comenzaron en el estadio, sobre el final del partido. Con el pitazo de Pezzotta, los fanáticos desataron su ira, rompieron vidrios del club y arrojaron piedras al césped. Luego, en la calle, los hinchas “millonarios” incendiaron basura y se enfrentaron a la policía

Piedras, palazos, y objetos contundentes. Todo se resume en una palabra: bronca. El desconcierto por el descenso se apoderó de los hinchas de River que explotaron y rompieron todo lo que encontraban a su alrededor. Los otros, los más sensatos, se quedaron lamentando su suerte en El Monumental, con el llanto como la única vía para liberar su desolación.

The incidents started in the stadium near the end of the match. With Pezzotta's whistle, the fanatics unleashed their anger, they broke the windows of the club and threw stones towards the field. Then, in the street, the “millionaires” fans lit trash on fire and clashed with the police.

Rocks, shovels, and blunt objects. It boils down to one word: anger. The confusion by the defeat overpowered the River fans that exploded and broke everything they could find in their immediate vicinity. The others, the more sensible ones, stayed at El Monumental, with tears as the only way to relieve their distress.

Argentine football will be left without one of its top teams in the next tournament, but above all, the country will be without one of its classics. To date, there were three, now only two teams that have never fallen in category: Boca Juniors and Independiente de Avellaneda. Will River Plate return to first division?

1 comment

  • allan stacy

    river is not gone, we are proud supporters, we will rise again, i am austalian and my wife maria argentine, we both love and support river and have much pain with what happened, is a learning curve that will never happen again, we will be champions of football again, so those who doubt us beware, this is argentina, the people have the spirit unmatched and our day will come and we will be bigger and better..viva river… viva viva argentina.

    el gringo
    de argentina

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