Copa Libertadores match halted amid violence in Brazil
The Copa Libertadores match between Brazil's Santos and Argentina's Independiente had to be called off before the final whistle Tuesday night after angry local fans fought with police and threw fireworks onto the pitch.
The second leg of the round-of-16 match was tied 0-0 with less than 10 minutes to go when Santos supporters started ripping seats from the stands and later stormed the pitch. They were furious over a decision announced by governing body CONMEBOL less than nine hours earlier that Independiente had been awarded a 3-0 win in the first leg, despite that match also ending 0-0, after Santos fielded an ineligible player.
That ruling was over a three-year-old red card, as Uruguayan midfielder Carlos Sanchez was still carrying a suspension in CONMEBOL competitions after being sent off in a Copa Sudamericana match in 2015.
The continental body said the 0-0 result from the second leg would stand, meaning Independiente advanced. It will face Racing or River Plate in the tournament's quarterfinals.
The incident has once again cast the spotlight on CONMEBOL, an organization tainted by mismanagement and a series of graft scandals involving its previous top leaders in recent years.
Santos' 17-year-old striker Rodrygo, who was recently signed by Real Madrid, said he would have acted like the fans did if he were on the stands.
"This is shameful. These fans are totally right," he told journalists. "We need to understand how fans feel. We went to Argentina, played as hard as we could, drew 0-0 and then we arrive here losing 3-0.