Friday, October 27, 2006

No Blood Shed During Argentine-Chilean Football match

There had been a lot of expectation before the second leg match that was played on October 26 in La Plata, Argentina between the local team, Gimnasia and Chilean club Colo Colo. It was a quarterfinal match of the "Copa Sudamericana" (not to be confused with the Copa Libertadores which is the most important South American football tournament at club level, and that has been held since 1960). The "Sudamericana" is a new tournament being played since 2002 and that is sponsored by "Nissan", while the Libertadores is sponsored by "Toyota". The match was held at Gimnasia´s stadium in La Plata, some 70 kilometers south of Buenos Aires. The Gimnasia fans had promised to get revenge on the Colo Colo fans after the incidents that occurred during the first match on Oct. 19 in Santiago. As the Gimnasia players arrived at the Colo Colo Stadium in a bus, they were attacked by local fans that broke all its windows with stones. Also about 50 Gimnasia fans that traveled to Santiago to support their team were constantly harassed and attacked by the Colo Colo fans. The Chilean team had an easy time during the match itself and with two minutes before the end of the match was winning 4-1 but then a disgraceful episode occurred as a local fan threw a rock that hit an Argentine player on the back of the head. The player suffered light injuries and play resumed but this time with a few scuffles between the players. The match was nearly suspended by the referee, that managed to control the players and continued with the few remaining minutes. Some days later, the South American Football Federation (Conmebol) suspended the Colo Colo stadium for its next two matches of the "Sudamericana".
During the return match in Argentina, Colo Colo showed great form and won its place in the semifinals with goals by Hector Suazo in the 47th minute (after a penalty on Matias Fernandez that was recently transferred to Villarreal of the Spanish first division) and Gonzalo Fierro in the 78th minute. At the end of the match the Colo Colo players had to run off the pitch under a hail of stones and other missiles thrown by the Gimnasia fans. The curious note of the encounter was that Claudio Borghi, the Colo Colo coach traveled approximately 1500 kilometers in 16 hours by car to La Plata since he is afraid of flying in airplanes !
Now Colo Colo must await the winner of the tie between the winner of the 2002 edition, San Lorenzo of Argentina and Toluca (Mexico).

related sites

No comments: