The Brazilian football league season ended on Sunday with a violent brawl that seriously injured three people. A match in southern Brazil was stopped for an hour after a fight broke out between supporters of Vasco da Gama and Atletico Paranaense, the BBC reports.
TV images showed seemingly unconscious men being kicked in the head despite appeals from football players. A helicopter landed on the pitch to transport an injured man to hospital.
The shockingly violent scenes, broadcast live to millions of homes on Sunday afternoon, are bound to raise questions about Brazil’s ability to keep fans safe during next year’s World Cup, correspondents say. “I’ve been playing for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in person. We will have a World Cup in our country and we know these images will be shown everywhere,” defender Luiz Alberto told reporters.
Despite tensions running high, there was no police inside the stadium. “It is a private event and the security has to be ensured by a private company hired by Atletico Paranaense. We were responsible for policing the external areas,” a spokesman for the state’s military police, Adilson Moreira, told EFE news agency. Riot police only stepped in and fired rubber bullets after at least two fans from Atletico Paranaense were lying on the stands.
Dorival Junior’s side became the first Brazilian team ever to go down having won the league the year before, while Vasco da Gama join them in Serie B after an ugly final day, gosl.com reports.
Fluminense players did everything they could to keep their survival hopes alive by beating Bahia 2-1, but Coritiba’s 1-0 win over Sao Paulo saw Fluminense drop out of the top flight. Fluminense had fallen behind just before half-time to a William Barbio goal, but strikes from Wagner and Samuel turned things around only for the final whistle to bring disappointment.
The top two – Cruzeiro and Gremio – ended the season with respective draws against Flamengo and Portuguesa, while a Walter Montillo double helped Santos to a 3-0 win over 10-man Goias. Elswehere, Atletico Mineiro and Vitoria shared four goals in a thrilling encounter in Belo Horizonte. Vitoria raced into a 2-0 lead inside six minutes, but Mineiro produced a stunning comeback with Ronaldinho grabbing a goal at the end of either half.
Already-relegated Ponte Preta picked up a 0-0 draw with Internacional, while Nautico ended the campaign with a fifth win as they beat Corinthians 1-0.