Friday, March 6th, 2009
Violence reared its ugly head in Argentinian football again over night, as the Clausura match between Godoy Cruz and San Martin was abandoned following trouble in the stands.
According to reports, a battle developed between Godoy Cruz hooligans and the police during halftime, that lead to rubber bullets being fired and and tear gas being set off.
The second half began on schedule, but play was soon halted when the police informed referee Diego Abal that they could not guarantee the security of players and officials in the stadium.
Fearing a possible points deduction for failure to control their own crowd, Godoy Cruz coach Diego Cocca was quoted after the game saying, “This is very sad and people must understand that this kind of event can affect our fight to avoid relegation.”
Footage of the violence was akin to images from a war scene. A lone amateur cameraman, capturing his images from seemingly concealed positions, witnessed pockets of armed riot police chasing after civilians (presumably the Godoy Cruz fans) and firing off their rubber bullets without hesitation. All hell had broken loose.
Video footage of the violence can be seen here.
The violence ruined what had been an attractive game. Gustavo Ibanez had put the visitors ahead with a left-footed strike in the 35th minute, before Peruvian forward Roberto Jimenez equalised for Godoy Cruz six minutes later.
Highlights from the match before its abandonment can be seen here.