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SPORTS | 27-05-2024 12:34

Fan violence rears up in Mendoza, forces suspension of top-flight match

Crowd disturbances force suspension of a top-flight match between Godoy Cruz and San Lorenzo.

Football fan violence reared its head in Mendoza over the weekend as crowd disturbances forced the suspension of a top-flight match between Godoy Cruz and San Lorenzo.

The Liga Profesional de Fútbol clash at the Malvinas Argentinas stadium, from the third round of fixtures, was called off just seven minutes into the second half.

Referee Nazareno Arasa took the decision to suspend the match, which was tied at 1-1, because of clashes between Godoy Cruz fans and the Mendoza police. The match had already been interrupted twice after supporters threw objects onto the pitch.

The crowd disturbances, which saw home supporters battling each other and then the police, came after San Lorenzo’s team bus had been attacked earlier in the day. 

Godoy Cruz hooligans threw stones at the visiting team’s bus, breaking windows and injuring three staff members in the process.

Immediately before the match there were running scuffles between fans and police, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas at fans outside the stadium. 

"The guarantees were not in place. We exhausted all possible instances. It's about protecting the physical integrity of everyone, of the players, of us, of the spectacle," said Arasa after calling off the match.

"We started to hear gunshots, the head of operations came and didn't give me any guarantees. I think the best and healthiest thing to do is to have suspended it and then decide when the remaining time will be played,” he concluded.

Nahuel Ulariaga (34th minute) opened the account for the Mendoza side with a header, and Agustín Giay (45+14) scored the equaliser for San Lorenzo in the 14th minute of injury time from a stop-start first half that was repeatedly held up by incidents. 

Among them, stones were repeatedly thrown at San Lorenzo goalkeeper Gastón Gómez, with the referee having to pause play. When the second half got underway, fans continued to throw projectiles onto the pitch, forcing the match official to step in and stop the game. 

On the eve of the match, rumours had spread that some kind of violence should be expected at the game, following the arrest of a leader from one of the Godoy Cruz hooligan groups. 

Addressing the violence, Mendoza Province Deputy Governor Hebe Casado described the hooligans as “criminals.”

"What happened today at the Godoy Cruz-San Lorenzo match makes me very sad for the real fans who go to watch a sporting spectacle and cheer on their team. Those who caused the incidents are CRIMINALS. I hope that justice will bring down the full weight of the law on them," she said in a post on her X social media account. 

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA
 

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