Boca fan who pepper-sprayed River players fears reprisals

Reuters News
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Posted: May 19, 2015 3:04 PM

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The Boca Juniors fan who pepper-sprayed River Plate players leaving them needing hospital treatment said his family were scared after the Argentine team were expelled from the Libertadores Cup.

Adrian Napolitano admitted to the crime but said he did not mean to harm anyone.

"I am afraid, I have family and they are scared," he told Argentine media on Tuesday.

"When I saw what happened I wanted to die.

"I never intended this to happen. I didn't think there were cameras. I didn't think it would go this far."

Four River Plate players were taken to hospital after they were sprayed with an irritant by Napolitano, who was filmed forcing his arm into the inflatable tunnel as the players waited to reappear for the second half last Thursday.

The incident led to the last 16 second leg match being abandoned at halftime with the score 0-0.

The River Plate medical team said the players suffered inflammation of the cornea and needed days to recover.

Boca were kicked out the competition by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

The club was also fined $200,000 and ordered to play their next four CONMEBOL-organized games behind closed doors.

Following CONMEBOL's decision, River advanced to the quarter-finals where they will face Brazil's Cruzeiro.

(Reporting and writing by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo. Additional reporting by Luis Ampero, editing by Pritha Sarkar)