Referee suspended and claims of match fixing after fans riot in Tunisia derby match

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Tunisian policemen stand guard as fans throw flares during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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Tunisia's Club Africain fans cheer during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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A Tunisian policeman removes a flare from the pitch at the end of the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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Tunisia's Club Africain fans light flares and cheer during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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A policeman walks past rubbish on the ground following the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018
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Referee suspended and claims of match fixing after fans riot in Tunisia derby match

TUNIS: After a riot sparked by a contested penalty and a flurry of red cards left 19 police officers hospitalized, Etoile Sahel said Sunday they were ready to go to court over their 3-2 defeat by bitter rivals Esperance.
Thirty-eight police officers were injured when they were pelted by smoke bombs, stones, chairs and pieces of metal at Thursday’s Tunisian league match in Rades, on the outskirts of Tunis.
The local football authorities also suspended the match referee Karim Khemiri until the end of the season, citing serious mistakes.
Etoile said on their website they “suspect match fixing in the match against Esperance,” and will be handing a dossier of information to government officials.
The penalty award came late in the second half with Etoile leading 2-1 and there were three red cards in the final 10 minutes.
Esperance will play their next three games behind closed doors after dangerous levels of smoke bombs and running battles on the terraces saw the match twice interrupted.
After this weekend’s games Esperance lead the Tunisian league on 44 points with Etoile in third on 36.
The visitors have been ordered to pay compensation for damage caused to the stadium, a venue often used to stage national team matches.
Football in Tunisia is regularly plagued by violence especially when the country’s top clubs clash.
In recent years, violence has escalated so much that sports minister Majdouline Cherni described the outbreaks as “stadium terrorism.”


Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

Updated 18 June 2019
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Chile open Copa America title defense with win over Japan

  • The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay
  • Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time

SAO PAULO: Chile’s experienced Copa America team proved too good for Japan’s young squad.

The two-time defending champions opened their Copa America campaign with a 4-0 win over the Asian guests on Monday, with Eduardo Vargas scoring a pair of goals to become Chile’s all-time leading scorer in the South American competition.

Erick Pulgar and Alexis Sanchez also scored for the titleholders, which are trying to become the first nation to win three straight Copa titles since Argentina in the late 1940s. Vargas scored twice in the second half to reach 12 goals with Chile in the tournament, two more than Enrique Hormazabal.

The victory moved Chile to the top of Group C along with Uruguay, which opened with a 4-0 win over Ecuador on Sunday.

“Chile has players who are very experienced, who know each other very well,” Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “The challenge today was to avoid a bad debut. We were humble and entered with our feet on the ground. We were playing against a team that was very competitive in all sectors.”

Japan, playing as a Copa America guest for the second time, brought to Brazil a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The Japanese youngsters struggled against the veteran Chilean squad which was in control from the start at the Morumbi Stadium.

Chile won the last two editions of the Copa America, beating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the final both in 2015 and 2016. Argentina is the only team to have won three consecutive South American titles, from 1945-47.

Boosted by most of the 23,253 fans at the Morumbi, Chile created most of the significant chances.

After Pulgar headed in a corner-kick cross by Charles Aranguiz in the 41st minute, Vargas added to the lead with a shot from outside the area in the 54th after a pass by Mauricio Isla.

Sanchez found the net with a header in the 82nd, and Vargas closed the scoring about a minute later with a long lob shot over goalkeeper Keisuke Osako as he charged from his net.

It was a good opening match for Sanchez after a difficult season with Manchester United.

“I was coming off a difficult month-and-a-half,” said the 30-year-old Sanchez, who injured his ankle late in the season. “I struggled in the first 45 minutes, I felt tired, but I improved in the second half.”

Rueda, debuting with Chile in an official tournament, has been gradually revamping the squad since he took over in 2018. Among the veterans back from the team’s recent triumphs were Vargas, Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, who also had a good opener.

Japan last played in the Copa America in 1999, when it was eliminated in the group stage. Among the youngsters in Brazil was Takefusa Kubo, the 18-year-old who has joined Real Madrid’s “B” team for next season. He played from the start and was a threat for Japan in attack. He got an ovation from the crowd at the Morumbi after getting past a defender with a ball through his legs about 10 minutes into the match. He nearly scored after a nifty move past a defender inside the area in the 65th, but his shot hit the outside of the net. Japan had a few good chances to get on the board toward the end of the game but could not capitalize on them.