GLOBO ESPORTE, FOLHA DE S.P. (Brazil), FOX SPORTS, THE WASHINGTON POST (USA)
SAO PAULO – With less than two years before the kick-off of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, things are not looking good for Brazilian soccer.
Local team Sao Paulo FC were crowned the winners of the Copa Sudamericana final Wednesday, after Argentinan side Tigre refused to return for the second half, reports Brazilian sports website Globo Esporte.
Tigre players claimed they were attacked by Sao Paulo's armed guards in the dressing room area following clashes between players on the pitch at Morumbi Stadium.
"They pulled two revolvers," Tigre's coach Nestor Gorosito told Fox Sports, referring to unspecified security officials. "We’re not going to play anymore."
Tigre defender Lucas Orban added: "They ambushed us and one of them pulled out a revolver and put it against (goalkeeper) Damian Albin's chest. Their security and police also hit us, there were around 20 of them."
What happened in the dressing room area remains unclear, but Argentine television showed what appeared to be blood-spattered walls. Argentine television also showed several Tigre staff members with bruises and bloody faces, reports The Washington Post.
"We came to play a game, not to fight a war. We are a small Argentinean team, we admire Brazilian football, Sao Paulo FC is a great club," Sergio Massa, President of Tigre, told Folha de Sao Paulo. "Our attitude (not to return on the field) was based on safety issues."
As the Argentinean players failed to return on the field, Chilean referee Enrique Osses decided to abandon the match after a 30-minute delay. Sao Paulo FC had been leading 2-0 following a goalless first match in Buenos Aires.
Newspapers in Argentina called the incident "shameful" and "outrageous." British tabloid The Sun also reacted to the troubled soccer final.
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It was Brazilian soccer's rising star Lucas Moura's last appearance wearing the colors of Sao Paulo FC as the young player is due to join French team Paris Saint-Germain in January. Moura scored the first goal of the game.
Sao Paulo FC, one of Brazil's strongest squads, is a three-time winner of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious club tournament.
This is the club’s first Copa Sudamericana title, the equivalent of Europe's UEFA Europa League.