Sao Paulo take Copa Sudamerica title amid violence
Updated: Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 15:03
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.
Chilean referee Enrique 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.
"During the break, a big guy came in with a gun." - Nestor Gorosito
Tigre coach Nestor Gorosito claimed armed security officers had beaten his players and pointed guns at them during half-time.
"During the break, a big guy came in with a gun," he said 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."
Referee 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."
CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna said: "The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on.
"This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion."
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.
However, Lucas had also been on the receiving end of several tough challenges, with one elbow to the face drawing blood.
Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, who had handed Lucas the captain's armband at the end to allow the departing star to lift the trophy, was shocked by the way the match ended, but claimed the Tigre players had been overly aggressive on the pitch.
"We don't know what happened, but the Tigre players came to Brazil to fight, not to play," he said.
"I really don't know what happened in the dressing rooms."