Santos fans threw fireworks at the Independiente bench and tried to invade the pitch during Tuesday’s Copa Libertadores match in Sao Paulo, forcing the referee to abandon the game with just minutes remaining in a 0-0 draw.
The result means that Independiente, who earlier in the day were awarded a 3-0 first-leg win after Santos were adjudged to have used an ineligible player, qualified for the quarter-finals of South America’s premier club competition.
Tuesday’s game at the Pacaembu Stadium was drifting towards a stalemate when Santos fans began throwing missiles towards the Independiente bench and onto the pitch with eight minutes remaining.
A Santos supporter is escorted from the pitch by police during their clash with Independiente
Fans threw fireworks at the Independiente bench and tried to invade the pitch on Tuesday
A police officer grabs a supporter and wields his baton as the match descended into chaos
Supporters damaged the stands of the stadium in Sao Paolo during the Copa Libertadores tie
A Santos fan holds a chair, ripped from the stand, as the atmosphere turned sour in Brazil
Scores of fans then stormed the perimeter fence, prompting police to force them back with batons.
A few managed to scale the barriers and get onto the pitch as police and supporters clashed at the bottom of the terraces. Police then launched percussion grenades to quell the violence.
The Chilean referee halted the game and a few minutes later took the teams to the dressing rooms and abandoned the match.
The trouble came at the end of a tumultuous day for the South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL.
Just hours before kick off it ruled that Brazilians Santos had fielded an ineligible player in the 0-0 first-leg draw in Argentina last Tuesday and therefore awarded Independiente a 3-0 win.
The referee was forced to abandon the match with just minutes remaining on Tuesday
A supporter is reprimanded by police as the authorities tried to restore order in Brazil
The home supporters hurled missiles towards the visiting bench as scenes turned ugly
A line of police officers keep watch on the stands during the second leg on Tuesday night
CONMEBOL said the player, Uruguay international Carlos Sanchez, had not served the entirety of a ban handed out in 2015 when he played for River Plate.
Santos said they fielded Sanchez after CONMEBOL’s own online system showed the player had no outstanding bans.
Santos appealed the sanction and Sanchez was cleared to play in Tuesday’s return leg but the decision to give Independiente a 3-0 win from the first match stood, infuriating the club and their fans, who had bought all 45,000 tickets for the game.
Tuesday’s trouble brought back memories of the Copa Libertadores game between Brazil’s Corinthians and River Plate at the Pacaembu Stadium in 2016.
Corinthians fans invaded the field and were beaten back by police after they were knocked out the tournament by the Argentine side.
The referee abandoned the match with five minutes remaining and River 3-1 up.
A police officer tries to move supporters on after the match was abandoned by officials
Independiente, who were earlier awarded a 3-0 first-leg win, qualified for the quarter-finals
A supporter puts his hands up as a police officer pushes him in the back amid the trouble