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Gunfight brings Mexican football match to a halt

August 22, 2011

I went to a football match on Friday night (Tecos vs. Pachuca). Thankfully it wasn’t this one:

Gunfight brings Mexican soccer match to a halt

The drug related violence that has plagued Mexico in recent years entered the world of Mexican football for the first time this weekend.

Panic gripped the players and fans alike as shots rang out midway through the soccer match between Santos Laguna and Monarcas Morelia in the northern city of Torreon on Saturday.

The game was abandoned after 40 minutes when the shots were heard, seemingly from inside the 20,000-capacity Corona stadium. The players fled the pitch while fans dived for cover in the stands.

It later became clear that the gunfire actually came from outside the stadium and no one inside was hurt.

The incident occurred when three vehicles full of armed men failed to stop at a nearby army checkpoint. One policeman was wounded in the ensuing firefight, while stray bullets hit the outside of the stadium. The authorities have yet to make any arrests in connection with the shooting.

The images of fear and panic inside the stadium were captured on live television and quickly spread across the internet. Although unrelated to the football match itself, the incident will raise further doubts about security in Mexico ahead of October’s Pan American Games in Guadalajara.

The rest of the weekend’s games in Mexico went ahead as planned, with in-form Chivas climbing to the top of the league after a 2-1 win over Monterrey in the Omnilife Stadium on Saturday. The win took the Guadalajara side ahead of Pumas, who succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in Puebla.

On Friday night Estudiantes Tecos sealed a 2-1 victory over ten-man Pachuca with a last-minute winner in Zapopan’s Tres de Marzo stadium, while Atlas’ poor start to the season continued as they were beaten 5-2 by America in the Azteca stadium on Sunday. Meanwhile local student side Leones Negros drew 3-3 with Dorados in the promotion league.

Finally, Mexico’s under-20 national side wrapped up a respectable World Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over France to claim third place. Last week El Tri juniors were beaten 2-0 by Brazil, who went on to win 3-2 in the final against Portugal.

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