Frightening Pitch Invasion Interrupts Match At São Paulo's Flagship Youth Tournament
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The São Paulo state football federation called for tough action on Sunday after the semifinal of its flagship youth tournament was interrupted when fans invaded the pitch and threatened Palmeiras players.
Only São Paulo supporters were allowed inside the ground for Saturday evening’s semifinal between São Paulo and Palmeiras in the hugely popular tournament for Under-20 players that takes place every January.
With their team trailing 1-0 in stoppage time at least two of them invaded the pitch and threatened Palmeiras players before being restrained.
Caiobinha não deixando o torcedor agredir os jogadores pic.twitter.com/4SJWtvs4oP— spfcpics (@spfcpics) January 22, 2022
One of the match officials was filmed moments later holding a small knife. It was not known if the knife was thrown on to the field or carried by one of the invaders.
The referee halted the game for around six minutes but restarted it to play out the final seconds. Palmeiras won 1-0 and will face Santos in Tuesday’s final.
Organizers at the Paulista state federation (FPF) called the invaders "criminals dressed as supporters" and condemned the "lamentable scenes."
"The FFP will demand authorities…punish these acts with the full rigor of the law," the federation said.
Palmeiras players gave statements to police. São Paulo did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)