Police fire shots as Portuguese game descends into chaos, fighting

Police fired shots into the air at the end of a regional football game on Sunday in Portugal to stop a fight between the teams and fans.

The game between hosts Olimpico do Montijo and Vitoria Setubal B ended in a goalless draw and after the final whistle, players and coaches from both teams clashed.

A few fans at Montijo's Campo da Libertade stadium also stormed onto the pitch and joined in the melee.

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Two policemen intervened but were unable to pull them apart.

The violence then escalated and as additional policemen appeared, they were captured on video firing their weapons into the air. Up to nine shots were heard and one officer pointed a gun at a player.

The situation involved "aggression between various people who participated in the sporting event, including supporters of the two teams, who invaded the field," a police statement said.

"The officers that were there to ensure the security of the sporting event, intervened immediately to end the aggression in progress. Three police officers gave warning shots, by firing their weapons up in the air.

"The police action, including the shots produced, did not result in injury or damage."

A disciplinary inquiry has been opened to verify if the actions of the officers "comply with the applicable legislation and internal regulations."

Vitoria Setubal B coach Paulo Martins praised the police and said: "Had the police not fired those shots, the confusion would have been worse. Perhaps they should have prevented fans from entering the pitch."

However, Olimpico do Montijo coach Marco Bicho believes the police actions were disproportionate.

"At times, teams at the end of a game lose a little bit their emotional control," he said.

"Players, coaches and executives got too close to each other and it resulted in a conflict and some aggression. But then the police lost control.

"I have a question, in countless situations where players get at each other, has anyone seen something like this anywhere? Even with attacks worse than that, no one has seen the police fire 10 shots into the air."

Vitoria Setubal's bus was escorted by police from the stadium to the motorway to avoid any further incidents.