Femi Makinde, Peter Dada and Idris Adesina
The Aiteo Cup quarterfinal match between Sunshine Stars and Osun United was marred by violence at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, on Saturday.
No fewer than 20 persons allegedly sustained serious injuries while over 10 vehicles were destroyed during the fight between suspected Osun United and Sunshine fans. According to witnesses, the invasion of the pitch by some Osun United fans after the referee sounded the final whistle led to a free-for-all, forcing the match officials to run for their lives. Akure club Sunshine won the encounter 3-1, and progressed to the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate.
The referee was said to have incurred the wrath of the fans following a questionable call against the Osogbo outfit Osun United, who needed a second goal to advance, having won the first leg 1-0.
While the pitch invasion was going on, it was learnt that suspected Sunshine fans vandalised the vehicles which brought Osun United fans to the stadium. They were also said to have attacked Osun United captain Akeem Olalere and destroyed some property at the stadium.
But the Ondo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye accused Osun United of mobilising thugs from Osun State to attack Sunshine at Ijebu Ode.
Yusuf-Ogunleye claimed in an interview with reporters in Akure on Monday that the attack was planned before the match.
He alleged that the hoodlums injured over 20 Sunshine supporters when they invaded the pitch.
The commissioner said, “Some minutes before the end of the match, Osun United supporters invaded the field, beating and harassing both the match officials and players and it took the intervention of the security operatives at the stadium to save the situation.
“Most of the supporters, officials and fans were not so lucky as they were injured after being attacked with machetes by the supporters from Osun who seemed prepared for the onslaught. The Chief Security Officer of the stadium was also attacked.”
But Osun State Commissioner for Sport Biyi Odunlade alleged that Sunshine and Gateway FC supporters carried out the attack on Osun United.
Odunlade, who said he watched the match, alleged that Gateway supporters colluded with the supporters of Sunshine because their team were defeated in the earlier round by Osun United in Osogbo.
He added that an official of Ogun State Sports Council was arrested by the police while deflating the tyres of one of the damaged buses belonging to Osun United supporters.
He said, “They broke windscreens of five of our buses and we saw them do it but I pleaded with our people not to retaliate.
“We were more in number than them and it would have been brutal if our people had fought back. So, we didn’t attack them but they attacked us.”
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