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Argentina suspends football matches after player's death during tie

Buenos Aires: The Argentine Football Association said Thursday it was suspending all matches this weekend after a fourth-division player died of a head injury sustained during a game.

Emanuel Ortega, a player for Buenos Aires club San Martin de Burzaco, fractured his skull last week when a player from rival side Juventud Unida pushed him as they contested the ball, causing him to fall backwards into a perimeter wall used to keep fans from invading the pitch. Ortega, 21, died Thursday morning at a hospital in the Argentine capital, after undergoing two operations.

"At first matches were suspended for just the (fourth) division, but then we all agreed that we needed to reschedule all matches and that there would be no football this weekend," said AFA president Luis Segura. The measure does not affect Thursday's matches for the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores, including the so-called "super-clasico" between Argentina's most famous rivals, Boca Juniors and River Plate.

Argentine star Sergio "Kun" Aguero of English side Manchester City sent his condolences on Twitter. "Sad news about the death of Emanuel Ortega. My condolences to his family and friends," he wrote. "Ironic that he died on Footballers' Day," which Argentina celebrates every May 14.

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