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Fans’ Attack Puts Goalie in Hospital

November 11, 1996

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Goalie Ricardo Pinto of Atletico-Parana was hospitalized with a brain injury after being attacked by rival Fluminense fans in a first-division game Sunday, a team doctor said.

Enraged fans stormed on to the field after Atletico beat Fluminense 3-2 in Rio. The victory moved Atletico into the league lead and dropped Fluminense into last place.

Fans threw rocks, batteries and radios at Pinto, a former Fluminense player. He was struck on the head and carried into the locker room, where he received eight stitches.

``We were trapped for two hours in the locker room, with fans outside shouting, `We’ll kill him! We’ll kill him!′ ″ Atletico team doctor Edilson Thiele said.

Thiele said Pinto later was taken to a hospital, where tests revealed fluid on the brain. On Monday, he was flown in a mobile intensive care unit to Curitiba for further testing and possible surgery.

Pinto denied that he had deliberately provoked fans.

``I commemorated as I always do,″ he said in a post-game TV interview. ``But here, there were animals.″

Fluminense, one of Brazil’s most traditional clubs, is a likely candidate for demotion to the second division. With three games left in the regular season, Fluminense is tied with Bragantino and Bahia at 16 points but has the worst balance of goals at minus 25.

To stay in the first division, Fluminense must win its remaining games and hope its immediate rivals stumble.

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