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Soccer player left blinded after attack

February 17, 1997

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ A leading Australian soccer player has been left blinded in one eye after rival fans attacked his team’s bus with bottles and rocks.

Adelaide City midfielder Angelo Costanzo will find out on Tuesday if he has permanently lost the sight of his left eye after his pupil was cut by flying glass as hooligans pelted the bus.

Costanzo, 21, said a gang of up to 20 youths ambushed the bus as it left South Melbourne’s home ground after Adelaide City scored a 2-0 victory in a National Soccer League match on Sunday evening.

Two other players _ Dino Mennillo and John Gibson _ also suffered cuts as the fans threw rocks and bottles through the windows of the vehicle.

Costanzo was Monday undergoing treatment at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where surgeons removed slivers of glass from his eye. Doctors have told him they expect a definite diagnosis on his eye within 24 hours.

``It was very scary,″ said Adelaide City captain Alex Tobin. ``When a mob takes control, dangerous things can happen _ as they did.

``All the players basically got down onto the floor and we were worried about glass and rocks and other stuff that were being thrown into the bus.″

Soccer Australia and the Victoria state police are conducting investigations into the attack and incidents inside the stadium.

There were wild scenes during the match where an assistant referee was pelted with bottles and two players sent off.

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