Police use tear gas to disperse fighting fans

RIO DE JANEIRO - Police used tear gas to disperse fighting fans at a match in northeastern Brazil on Sunday with the fumes also effecting players, local newspaper a Tarde reported on their website.

Former Brazilian champions Bahia were leading 2-0 against local side Fluminense at half time in a Baiano state championship match in Feira de Santana when rival fans clashed on the terraces.

Police immediately resorted to tear gas with the fumes reaching other parts of the ground, affecting supporters in the stands and players returning to the pitch after halftime.

Players rushed to the exit of the small stadium to escape the effects of the tear gas and recover before play could resume, some sitting in the car park wiping their eyes, the newspaper's website reported while showing pictures of the scenes.

Bahia, Brazilian champions in 1988 and now in the national second division, won the state quarter-final 2-1.

Last month, police in the northern state of Rondonia resorted to pepper spray to try to get two players to leave the pitch after they were sent off and refused to accept the referee's decision, sparking a free-for-all.

In the Paulista (Sao Paulo), the most important of the state championships that open the Brazilian season, Brazil striker Robinho scored on his return from injury for Santos in their 3-1 win over Sao Caetano.

Robinho, who missed four matches with a thigh injury, took his tally in two spells at Santos to 89 goals in 200 matches.

"In general, I think I was okay," said Robinho, who has scored five goals in eight games since his return in January on loan from Manchester City.

"I think I have to improve for the (Paulista) semi-final, look after myself to get there in good shape," he told reporters.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo scored for the second successive match to help Corinthians beat Ituano 2-0 but they are not yet sure of qualifying for the last four.

He scored in his team's 2-1 win over Cerro Porteno of Paraguay in a mid-week Libertadores Cup match.

The semi-finalists for the second stage of the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) championship are the city's big four, Flamengo, Fluminense, Vasco da Gama and Botafogo.

Botafogo, who won the first stage, face "Flu" next Saturday and Carioca and national title holders Flamengo meet Vasco on Sunday.

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