Referee holds knife thrown onto pitch as Brazil game descends into violent chaos

A knife was shockingly thrown onto the pitch after Sao Paulo fans invaded the pitch to confront opposition players in a 1-0 under-20s defeat to Palmeiras.

The two Brazilian sides were competing in the Sao Paulo Junior Football Cup semi-final when angry supporters ran onto the field deep into stoppage time during the Arena Barueri clash on Saturday.

Sao Paulo were on the brink of defeat as two fans leapt over the barriers and approached Palmeiras players, leading several Sao Paulo stars to intervene and furiously gesture for them to stop.

In disgraceful scenes, one Sao Paulo supporter continued to advance before his own team’s player grabbed him around the waist to pull him away.

Shocking video footage appeared to show a knife was also thrown by the fans which landed dangerously close to the players.

The referee was seen holding the potentially lethal weapon up as Palmeiras players, including Liverpool-linked wonder-kid Endrick, complained.

Several other missiles including a stadium seat were thrown from the terraces and a total of four fans stormed the pitch, leading to one person being detained by police.

Two Palmeiras players reportedly spoke to the authorities after the match.

DRADE (Police Station for Repression of the Crimes of Sports Intolerance) officer Cesar Saad has since revealed that the knife actually flew out of a lunch-box launched from behind the goal.

He said: "In stoppage time, two fans invaded the pitch, one of them went up and physically attacked a Palmeiras athlete, and the second fan who practiced the invasion was contained by the São Paulo players themselves.

"At the same moment, some objects were thrown into the field.

"We tried to identify images from the press and fans, the stadium cameras and after a lot of analysis, listening to referees and athletes, we realised that along with the other objects, the knife was thrown on the lawn.

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"Initially we thought that one of the fans would have invaded to try to attack a Palmeiras player with this knife.

"The referees themselves called me in the referees' locker room and showed an image that is circulating in WhatsApp groups and the press where it shows the knife along with other objects being thrown.

"It is obvious that it is up to the Civil Police to find out how this knife ended up inside the stadium, who did the search, how it was done, which gate the fan entered.

"It looks like the knife is inside a lunch box and when it is thrown, it opens and the knife jumps out.

"This was shown to the Palmeiras athletes, to the Palmeiras football director who saw the images at the police station and everyone could see that the fans who invaded the pitch, who are being punished by the Civil Police, were not in possession of this knife."

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