Football: Player injured after fans invade dressing room in Brazil

Football: Player injured after fans invade dressing room in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO - Flamengo fans burst into the Macae dressing room, stealing equipment and injuring a player before the team's first game of the season, according to a state football federation official and the opposing team coach.

Despite the incident, the match at Macae in the Rio de Janeiro state championship went ahead as normal on Saturday evening and ended in a 1-1 draw.

"They invaded the changing room, took some belongings, fruits, a bag containing football boots and training shoes and the (Macae) goalkeeper was attacked," Rio de Janeiro football federation director Marcelo Viana told the Sportv cable channel. "The only injury was the goalkeeper, who suffered a cut, but it could have been much worse."

Macae coach Josue Teixeira gave a similar version of events. "We were finishing the pre-match talk when the Flamengo supporters burst into the dressing room, stole the players' equipment, attacked the players and members of the coaching staff," he said.

Macae goalkeeper Ricardo Berna, who played the match with a plaster over the cut on his chin, was furious. "Brazilian football is a disgrace," he said. "We need severe punishments for this." Asked who the perpetrators were, he replied: "An organised Flamengo supporters' group."

However, Flamengo president Eduardo Bandeira de Mello said he thought the story was "strange" and wanted more details before taking action.

"I find it strange that bandits supposedly entered the changing room in a Rio de Janeiro championship match by the front door and left by the front door without being identified," he told Sportv after the match. "I'm not a security specialist but I find this strange. The policing is the responsibility of the home team and I thought we were in a safe environment."

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