Argentine River Plate relegated to second division
Argentine football giants River Plate were relegated to the second division for the first time in their history on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
River Plate, based in the Belgrano district of Buenos Aires, are one of the most successdul sides in Argentina, with a record 33 league titles.
But the legendary club had to accept relegation after a 1-1 draw with Belgrano in the second leg of a demotion playoof, which is the first in its 110-year history, sparking steet battles between police and fans just outside its Monumental stadium.
Mariano Pavone scored in the sixth minute for River, and Guillermo Farre equalized in the 62nd.
Belgrano won the first leg 2-0 on Wednesday. The game was suspended for 20 minutes when River Plate hooligans raced onto the field to taunt its own players.
Officials also stopped Sunday's match with about a minute to play, with police forced to turn fire hoses on River Plate fans who had begun to throw objects on the field.
As the fans were pounded with water, River Plate's players huddled on the pitch, many in tears, including goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Fearing violence, Argentine authorities deployed about 2,200 police, reported to be the largest security operation for a football match, to control the crowd of 50,000 at River Plate's stadium.
Police used water cannons outside the stadium immediately after the match, hoping to disperse quickly. Fans who poured out of the stadium faced police with batons and shields at every exit, while attack dogs and helicopters were reportedly on standby.
River, which would have stayed up had it tied Belgrano on aggregate, had three or four chances in the first half but failed to convert. In the second, with the match level at 1-1, Pavone missed a penalty by shooting directly at goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave.
Just before River led through Pavone's goal, Belgrano looked to have scored but the goal was disallowed for offside. TV replays seemed to show it was a correct call.
Farre's equalizer came from 12 meters (yards) after two River Plate defenders had failed to clear the ball.
The demotion is humiliating for a club that has won more league titles than any team. River can return to the top flight after only one season in the second division, known as B Nacional, by finishing in the top four to be promoted automatically or by through a playoff.