SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The president of São Paulo football club condemned a violent assault on their team bus on Saturday in what appeared to be a reaction to the club’s recent run of poor form.
“The attack that the Sao Paulo Football Club delegation suffered heading to the Morumbi stadium is an inadmissible act and must never be tolerated,” Julio Casares said. “I was with the team on the bus and the damage could have been worse. It was lucky no one was injured.”
Pictures posted on the website of the Globo network and on supporters' social media accounts highlighted damage to the bus and a video showed missiles and fireworks exploding around the vehicle as it went past a bridge. At least 14 people were arrested, Globo reported.
The team continued to the stadium, where they drew 1-1 with lowly Coritiba.
It was Sao Paulo’s fifth league game without a win and leaves the club that was seven points clear at the top of the table late last year in second place, one point behind Internacional, who have a game in hand.
"Suffering provides an opportunity to grow,” under fire coach Fernando Diniz said after the game.
"And we are going to do all we can to try and win the next game. We need to believe in our strengths. We need to train intensely to get through this moment.”
(Reporting by Andrew Downie)