Hooded supporters injure player, staff at training ground

BC-SOC--Portugal-Fan Violence,1st Ld-Writethru

The incident occurred just days after goalkeeper Patricio's late mistake caused Sporting to lose 2-1 at Maritimo, an error that ultimately caused the club to miss out on qualifying for next season's Champions League.

A group of "fans" broke into Sporting Lisbon's training facility and attacked its players, according to reports from Portugal.

Sporting will face Aves on Sunday in the Taca de Portugal (Portuguese cup) final.

"But because the Cup final is a celebration of Portuguese football, and also out of respect to our club, we will play in the final".

He added: "I'm concerned as Portugal is a power in professional football, and I'm anxious about the seriousness of what's happened".

A group of angry fans forced their way into Sporting Lisbon's training center on Tuesday and assaulted its players and staff, the club said.

According to the local media, cited by Sport.es, around 50 hooded intruders carrying torches attacked the players, with belts and iron elements at the Sporting Academia training base. "It deeply regrets what happened and disassociates itself from these events".

Sporting released a statement after the attack claiming they "vehemently condemned acts of vandalism and aggression to athletes", while there's said to be a real fear that the core of the squad will seek moves away from the club.

Fans on Twitter also sent their support.

Tuesday's drama follows last month's war of words between players and the club's president who had threatened to suspend nearly all of the "spoilt brats" in the first team.

Club president Bruno de Carvalho launched a social media tirade against several of his own players, calling them out by name, following a defeat last month.

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