Thursday, April 4, 2013

Argentine soccer players brawl with armed riot police in middle of pitch

After being upset by the Ronaldinho-led Atletico-Mineiro, 5-2, at a Copa Libertores match on Wednesday, players from Argentine side Arsenal de Sarandi took out their anger on the exiting officials. When the ambushed referees were surrounded by Brazilian riot police for protection, the players then foolishly focused their fury on the armed, baton-wielding cops.

Video shows the bizarre interaction between the two sides as players go after the police with kicks, balls and fists.  That was when the cops raised their guns —loaded with rubber bullets — and swung their clubs before some sort of peace was restored.

No shots were fired but at least two officers and a journalist sustained injuries in the brawl. Four players will reportedly be charged with throwing punches and kicking the officers.

Every Arsenal player was kept from leaving Independencia Stadium until authorities could identify the players who attacked the officers.

The altercation began after several Arsenal players approached the officiating crew following the match to complain. Some police officers immediately arrived, shoving the players away and upsetting the Argentines.

The ugly scene continued as police tried to escort the players from the field.

"The officers were positioned to provide safety to the visiting players so they could go into the locker rooms, but inexplicably they attacked the officers again as they left the field," police spokesperson, Claudia Romualdo said.

She said one of the players hit her with a kick to her chest.

"What happened here is deplorable," she said. "This is not about sports. When our law is broken, obviously we need to take action."

By the way, Ronaldinho scored twice to led Atletico Mineiro to a 5-0 record in Group 3 of the Latin American club competition.

World Cup 2014 coming up. Should be a lot of fun.

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