Palmeiras fans attack team after loss
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (BDCi) — Palmeiras goalkeeper Fernando Prass was injured when team fans frustrated by a defeat in the Copa Libertadores confronted players at an airport in Argentina on Thursday.
Prass had to be treated with cuts to his ear and head, but no one was seriously hurt in the altercation before the team’s return to Brazil. Palmeiras said three fans were detained in Argentina but later released.
The supporters, wearing jerseys from the team’s biggest fan group, faced the players while they were waiting to board their flight back to Sao Paulo after a 1-0 loss to Tigre.
The small group of fans tried to attack the players and security guards had to intervene, according to Brazilian media with the team. Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia had to hide in the bathroom surrounded by security guards.
Brazilian media reported that Valdivia had been criticized during pre-game warmups at the stadium and he retaliated with obscene gestures. Midfielder Wesley also was targeted by the supporters at the airport.
Prass had to stay in Argentina because of the injuries and didn’t immediately return with the rest of the team. A team doctor stayed back with him.
Palmeiras is the fourth most popular club in Brazil with about 15 million supporters. The Mancha Alviverde fan group, the team’s biggest, has about 7,000 members.
Palmeiras lost after conceding a last minute goal, dropping to second-to-last in Group 2 of the Copa Libertadores.
It was not the first time that Palmeiras, the team with the most national titles, has had problems with fans. Players received death threats before the team’s relegation to the second division last year and the team’s store was lit on fire. This year, reserve player Fabinho Capixaba was assaulted by fans on the street.
In 2008, coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo injured his arm during a confrontation with supporters at an airport in Brazil, and a year later former Brazil striker Vagner Love left the team after being threatened by a fan group, as did Diego Souza. Last year, Joao Vitor got into a fight with supporters who waited for him to leave team headquarters to criticize him.