What does a club do when a league refuses to support it’s broader continental ambitions? In Bolivia, it refuses to send its first team out for the match it hoped to have postponed, instead leaving that task to a less than full squad of youth teamers.
That’s precisely what happened in a rather despicable development from all involved, when Bolivian Copa Libertadores squad Universitario de Sucre faced off against power Bolivar in the Bolivian league. Universitario de Sucre had petitioned to have the match moved so it could enter its critical Tuesday Copa Libertadores group match against Venezuelan squad Mineros de Guayana fresh, giving it the best chance to advance beyond the group stage of the prestigious South American continental club championship. The Bolivian league rejected that request, so Universitario de Sucre simply refused to let its top-flight players compete.
The result was a team comprised of just seven youth team players taking on Bolivar’s first team. That mismatch quickly yielded a pair of goals to Bolivar within the match’s first 10 minutes. As noted by Deadspin, that’s when things went from bad to worse, with a Universitario de Sucre youth teamer falling injured beyond the ability to return. That resulted in an 11-on-6, man-on-boys game, which the referee quite rightly thought was unfit to continue in the 21st minute.
As soon as the referee called off the game, Universitario de Sucre retreated and departed while Bolivar looked to make amends with its loyal fans. An intrasquad scrimmage and ticket refunds was a nice start, though it still pales in comparison to the game Bolivar fans thought they were getting when they saw Universitario de Sucre on the home schedule.