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Sporting title celebrations marred as fans clash with police

C

elebrations of Sporting Lisbon’s first Portuguese title in almost two decades were marred by clashes between fans and riot police. 

Sporting ended their long wait to be crowned champions with a 1-0 win over Boavista on Tuesday night, with fans gathering outside Estadio jose Alvalade to celebrate the success. 

Sporting striker Paulinho struck the only goal of the game in the 36th minute by sliding in to meet a Nuno Mendes cross and steer the ball into the roof of the net.

Ruben Amorim’s side saw out the win to claim the club’s 19th league title and end rivals Porto and Benfica’s 19-year stranglehold on the championship.

Sporting, who are still unbeaten with two games left, have 82 points after 32 matches, an unassailable eight-point advantage over second-placed Porto.

AFP via Getty Images

Soon after the match, fans spread across the city and thousands gathered in Lisbon’s main square, Marques do Pombal, one of the stops where Sporting players paraded the trophy on an open-top bus.

Some broke down metal barriers put in place to keep them from getting too close to the bus, prompting riot police to fire rubber bullets and use batons to disperse the crowd.

Ambulances rushed to the square to help several fans who were injured.

Some fans threw glass bottles and smoke bombs towards police officers and journalists.

No fans were allowed to enter the stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions. Outside the stadium and around Lisbon some supporters ditched face masks, while maintaining social-distancing became close to impossible as more people showed up.

Police had warned fans not to gather in large groups and urged them to practice social distancing and wear a mask at all times, with spokesman Domingos Antunes saying he hoped the celebration would not turn into a “nightmare”.

Although the title celebrations ended with clashes, some younger fans amongst the huge gathering outside the stadium on Tuesday evening had an unforgettable night: the first time they experienced their club winning the title.


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