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Jul 4, 2013

Chivas, America fans brawl

LAS VEGAS -- A preseason match between bitter rival Mexican League clubs America and Chivas Guadalajara ended in a 1-0 win for Chivas and a bottle-throwing brawl between rival fans and players.

Authorities say brawling among fans broke out prior to the match in the parking lot of UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium. The clubs were facing off for the first time in Las Vegas. Dozens of police responded.

Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell said tension began building Wednesday evening when Chivas and America fans arrived at the stadium by bus.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that clashes involving dozens of fans began at that point and then again after the match.

Tim Luce, director of Latin Sports, the event promoter, said he considered cancelling the event due to the disturbances between fans of the two historic rivals in the parking lot prior to the match.

"The police got involved quickly," he said. "We spoke with them right away to ensure that the match could go on. We had to start because of the TV coverage, so we wanted the fans to get into the stadium as quickly as possible. It is not a problem of Las Vegas, but basically the sum of many factors coming together at the same time so that the fans of these teams meet each other."

The rival players also began a shoving match at the 36th minute with America's Paul Aguilar and Chivas' Giovani Hernandez starting the pushing. America's Hugo Gonzalez and Chivas' Jesus Sanchez were also involved and both benches cleared in a player brawl before referee Jesus Cisneros sent out Aguilar and Ruben Sambueza for America and Hernandez and Hector Reynoso for Guadalajara. America coach Miguel Herrera finished with eight players on the field after also losing Juan Carlos Medina to a shoulder injury. There were a total of five yellow cards, four red cards and 19 fouls.

Roughly 40 officers from Las Vegas police initially responded. But when the crowd began throwing rocks and bottles, and additional forces were summoned. Cassell says an additional 80 officers from Las Vegas and other communities responded.

The match ended with a Chivas 1-0 win after Giovani Casillas on a cross from Abraham Coronado in the 86th minute, and fans again began to cause trouble, running onto the field and resuming the fight as police worked to quell the chaos.

Cassell says no one was arrested and no officers were injured. The newspaper says six fans were hurt. The match was stopped at the end of regulation when a handful of fans stormed the pitch, causing the referees to end the game. When the players headed to the changing rooms, hundreds of fans descended on the pitch again and began brawling near the south goal post.

"Nothing good came out of this," Club America president Ricardo Pelaez said. "Security and soccer wise, we're going to rethink what we do in the future real hard."

While Chivas struggled this season, Club America won its 11th league title.

Information from Ricardo Lopez Juarez and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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