x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Sao Paulo win Copa Sudamericana after final abandoned following gun threat claims

Tigre players refused to return to the game for the second half after claiming security officials had pulled guns on them following a scuffle in the tunnel.

Security officials step in after Sao Paulo and Tigre players are involved in a fight at half time in the Copa Sudamericana final.
Security officials step in after Sao Paulo and Tigre players are involved in a fight at half time in the Copa Sudamericana final.

Sao Paulo were crowned Copa Sudamericana champions in less than glorious circumstances as the final against Tigre was abandoned at half-time amid scuffles on the pitch and claims of further violence off it.

After a goalless first leg in Argentina, Sao Paulo took a 2-0 lead on home turf with goals from Lucas Moura and Osvaldo.

But things took a sour turn at half-time as fighting broke out between the players as they made their way off the pitch.

Tigre then refused to return for the second half, claiming their players had been attacked by security officials in the dressing rooms.

Nestor Gorosito, the Tigre coach, told reporters "they pulled two revolvers," referring to unspecified security officials.

"During the break, a big guy came in with a gun," he added on Fox Sports.

"Some policeman started to hit some of my players. We tried to defend ourselves."

Gorosito also complained about the treatment his team had received throughout their preparations for the match.

"We trained two hours away from our hotel, and it took us more than an hour to get to the stadium," he said. "We were unable to warm up on the pitch."

Chilean referee Enrique Osses said: "We did not see anything, but we have heard some things about what happened.

"We saw there were some injuries to the Tigre players but I don't know what caused them."

The two teams scuffled going off the pitch after the first half and while it was unclear what happened in the dressing room area, Argentine television showed what appeared to be blood stains spattered on walls.

"Police entered and struck our players with sticks," Gorosito told Argentine television. "It was crazy. What happened was crazy."

Sao Paulo had dominated the first half with Lucas, playing his final match before joining Paris St Germain, at the heart of everything.

He scored the opener in the 23rd minute, pouncing on the ball to fire home after Willian Jose's progress towards goal had been blocked.

Lucas turned provider for the second, playing a fine ball for Osvaldo to run through and lift the ball over Damian Albil.

Osses abandoned the match after a 30 minute delay, awarding the victory to Sao Paulo, who were then presented with the trophy in a formal ceremony.


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