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Emanuel Ortega death: 21-year-old dies after suffering horrific head injury

Published 15/05/2015

Emanuel Ortega
Emanuel Ortega

The Argentinian Football Association has postponed games across all professional divisions in the country this weekend out of respect for Emanuel Ortega, who died on Thursday having fractured his skull last week.

The 21-year-old striker was playing for San Martin de Burzaco against Juventud Unida in a Primera C division match held on May 4 when he struck his head on a concrete pillar during a challenge with an opponent.

He died 10 days later and a division-wide postponement proposed by the AFA has been unanimously agreed to by all professional clubs.

An AFA statement read: "As a result of the pain caused to the football family by the death of Emanuel Ortega, the entire weekend's football programme is suspended.

"Games in all categories that have been suspended this weekend will be played next weekend, with a revised schedule."

The association's president, Luis Segura, told "I feel great sadness and dismay.

"While his situation was always complicated, we had hope, but unfortunately that has now gone."

The postponement of the weekend's fixtures as a mark of respect casts doubt over when, if at all, Boca Juniors and River Plate will be able to resume their suspended Copa Libertadores tie.

The second-leg encounter at La Bombonera was suspended after away players were seemingly attacked by home supporters wielding tear gas, and the match was ultimately called off by referee Dario Herrera over an hour later.

Many of the away players had their eyes irritated, with midfielders Leonardo Ponzio and Matias Kranevitter among those worse affected.

''It is incredible,'' Kranevitter said. ''We were getting out of the tunnel and suddenly we could not breathe and our eyes started to cry and burn. I cannot see anything. We cannot continue like this. They threw tear gas at us. They are cowards.''

The cleared calendar would seemingly offer the clubs a chance to reconvene at a neutral venue, but the AFA is unlikely to sanction football - even under such extraordinary circumstances - given the weekend has been set aside for mourning.

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