Violence erupts at Brazilian league match, several fans seriously injured

At least three fans were critically injured at Sunday's match between Atletico Paranaese and Vasco da Gama, with one needing to be airlifted from the Atletico stadium in Joinville.

A crucial match between Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama was delayed more than an hour on Sunday, as opposing fans fought in the stands and police fired rubber bullets into the crowd. One man was airlifted by helicopter to hospital, while two others were reported to be in serious condition.

The match was an crucial one, with Atletico seeking a place in next year's Copa Libertadores, and Vasco trying desperately to avoid relegation. But despite the importance to both sides, there were no police in the stadium, and the opposing fans were separated by a staff of 80 private security guards. Fighting broke out after just 15 minutes, although the police and medical staff did not arrive until later.

''We tried to tell the fans to stop because things would only get worse. We looked at the stands and there were no cops. There was nobody there to stop the fighting,'' said Atletico Paranaense defender Luiz Alberto. ''I'm playing for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this in person. We will have a World Cup in our country and we know these images will be shown everywhere.''

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