Football pitch invasions force the abandonment of two games in Brazil

(Reuters) – Two Brazilian soccer matches were scrapped before full time on Sunday after fans flooded the pitch.

A Premier League game between Ceara and Cuiaba in Fortaleza has been suspended, with the sides drawing 1-1 after home fans destroyed parts of the chain-link fence and charged onto the pitch.

There was a similar situation in Recife, where Sport hosted Vasco da Gama in a game between two of Brazil’s most famous sides battling for promotion to the top flight.

In Fortaleza, angry Ceara fans rushed onto the pitch and tried to attack the players after scoring an injury-time equalizer after falling behind minutes earlier against a Cuiaba side who were playing with 10 men.

With six games still to play, both teams are battling against relegation. Ceara is 16th in the standings with 34 points, three points ahead of Cuiaba.

Players from both teams fled the pitch as military police beat fans with batons as they tried to control the situation.

After several minutes, the referee decided that the safety of the players could not be guaranteed and abandoned the match.

In Recife, Sport fans removed a gate to invade the pitch after Raniel de Vasco equalized from the penalty spot to level the score at 1-1 in injury time, celebrating in front of the home fans.

Fans attacked police, firefighters and even medical staff from an ambulance parked next to the pitch.

Most of the players fled the pitch and although the referee waited for almost an hour in the hope of resuming play, the officials judged that the safety of the players could not be guaranteed and abandoned the match.

With three games remaining, Vasco is fourth with 55 points, three ahead of Sport. Only the first four are promoted to Serie A.