Football: Fighting for peace in Sao Paulo

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The Independent Online
Two players were sent off for fighting while the referee was given a police escort on Sunday in a Brazilian championship match which had begun with players offering their support to a peace campaign.

The Sao Paulo team brought a white flag on to the field for their home match with Bahia to show solidarity for a public campaign against violence in Sao Paulo, which has seen several people murdered during armed robberies this month.

But as soon as the game began, the players set about kicking each other as a series of wild tackles flew in. The Sao Paulo midfielder Edmilson was the victim of a vicious tackle from behind which resulted in most of the players squaring up to each other. Six minutes into the second half, Edmilson and the Bahia midfielder Darci were shown the red card for fighting.

The referee had been given a police escort as he left the field at the interval to protect him against Bahia players who believed the goal which gave Sao Paulo a 2-1 lead was offside.

Two late goals from Colombia's Victor Hugo Aristizabal gave the home side a 5-2 win, and he said afterwards: "You need to be calm with the ball, it has to be treated like a woman."

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