Sport­ing Lisbon in shock af­ter hor­rific gang at­tack

The Borneo Post - - SPORT -

LISBON: A shocked Sport­ing Lisbon will play in Sun­day’s Por­tuguese Cup fi­nal de­spite a hor­rific or­deal that saw a 50strong gang of masked and hooded men bru­tally at­tack play­ers and of­fi­cials at train­ing.

Wear­ing t- shirts bear­ing the club’s em­blem the mob in­vaded Sport­ing’s train­ing ground on Tues­day and went on the ram­page, ter­ror­is­ing play­ers and per­son­nel and van­dal­is­ing dress­ing rooms.

Dutch in­ter­na­tional Bas Dost, Sport­ing’s top scorer this sea­son, re­quired stitches to his neck. A pho­to­graph of his blood­ied face ap­peared on so­cial me­dia.

“It was a dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion and we are all shocked,” the striker, with 27 league goals to his name this sea­son, told Dutch news web­site Al­ge­meen Dag­blad.

“This is a drama for ev­ery­one, I am empty,” the 28-year- old added to Por­tuguese web­site Ojogo.

He had scored in Sun­day’s 2-1 loss to Mar­itimo Fun­chal which left Sport­ing in third and miss­ing out on Cham­pi­ons League football next sea­son.

Ar­gentina in­ter­na­tional Mar­cos Acuna and Croa­tia’s Josip Misic were also as­saulted in the raid on Sport­ing’s Al­co­chete train­ing base in the Lisbon sub­urbs.

The team met their play­ers’ union on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss how to re­act and whether to pull out of Sun­day’s Cup fi­nal against De­s­portivo das Aves.

A team state­ment later con­firmed that de­spite their fright­en­ing or­deal they would face Aves in four days’ time.

“We are not in a phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion to re­sume nor­mal train­ing im­me­di­ately,” the play­ers said.

“But be­cause the Cup fi­nal is a cel­e­bra­tion of Por­tuguese football, and also out of re­spect to our club, we will play in the fi­nal.”

Ac­cord­ing to the play­ers’ union, some play­ers are set to quit the club af­ter this clos­ing game of the sea­son.

The horri f ic in­ci­dent lef t Por­tu­gal’s Pres­i­dent Marcelo Re­belo de Sousa “wor­ried by the im­age this projects of Por­tu­gal to the world”.

He added: “I’m con­cerned as Por­tu­gal is a power in pro­fes­sional football, and I’m wor­ried about the se­ri­ous­ness of what’s hap­pened.”

Por­tuguese Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nio Costa said “this in­crease in vi­o­lence is in­tol­er­a­ble”.

“It’s clear from now on that we have to beef up mea­sures and set up a na­tional body against vi­o­lence in sport,” he added on a trip to Bul­garia.

Por­tuguese police have made 23 ar­rests, ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment.

Sev­eral hun­dred Sport­ing fans made their way to the team’s Al­valade sta­dium on Tues­day night to lend their sup­port to their stricken team’s play­ers and man­age­ment.

Sup­port­ers group ‘Ju­ven­tude Leon­ina’ con­demned the at­tack on so­cial me­dia.

“The Ju­ven­tude Leon­ina num­bers more than 7,000 fans. It deeply re­grets what hap­pened and dis­as­so­ci­ates it­self from these events.”

Sport­ing is­sued a state­ment of their own, de­cry­ing what it termed “acts of van­dal­ism and the at­tacks on ( our) ath­letes, coaches and pro­fes­sional staff.” — AFP

Por­tu­gal’s Pres­i­dent Marcelo Re­belo de Sousa (right) wel­comed Mal­tese Pres­i­dent Marie-Louise Coleiro-Preca and her hus­band Edgar at Jeron­i­mos Monastery in Lisbon, Por­tu­gal. — Reuters photo

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