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Las Vegas’ version of El Super Clasico marred by brawls, projectiles and a pitch invasion

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Hope that Las Vegas could be the future home of a Major League Soccer team took a hit Wednesday night when the match between Club America and Chivas Guadalajara was marred by fan violence.

The exhibition match was won 1-0 by Chivas when 19 year old Giovanni Casillas headed home Abraham Coronado’s cross in the 86th minute. And while the ‘friendly’ version of El Super Clasico was played at great intensity and was hotly contested throughout the entire 90 minutes – a total of four players (including both team captains) were sent off after a mid-game bench clearing scuffle – it was off the pitch where things truly got out of hand.

One hour before kick-off hundreds of Club America fans swarmed a bus carrying Chivas supporters and launched baseball-sized rocks and bottles at the bus. Witnesses said that a melee ensued among some 400 fans that lasted about five minutes before 40 police officers responded. An additional 80 officers were thereafter called in for backup.

More violence erupted shortly thereafter when another fight broke out among fans trying to enter Sam Boyd Stadium and six people were left bloodied and injured. With stadium entrance points clogged, thousands of fans were denied timely entrance into the stadium after being forced to walk into the venue from Boulder Highway.

Inside the stadium fans banged drums, blew horns, sang, danced and set off smoke canisters. But as the on-field intensity heated up, so too did the shenanigans in the crowd. The player scrap that led to the four ejections prompted the opposing supporters to begin tossing projectiles at each other and by the time Casillas broke the deadlock, emotions boiled over.

With fireworks blasting off in the stands and Bud Light bottles littering the pitch, fans stormed the field and began fighting. Punches and kicks to the head left supporters bloodied and bruised as police were forced to call for backup. Metro Police officials noted that a few people were arrested by the end of the game but an exact tally was not kept.

Regardless of whether the match is a friendly or a championship tie, El Super Clasico always will be a fierce contest, both on and off the pitch. The rivals have been at each others’ throats since 1943, playing a total of 211 times with Club America winning 75 times, Chivas winning 73 times, and the other 63 contests ending in draws.

Like many great rivalries, the animosity is based on a battle of the haves (Club America) and the have-nots (Chivas). Club America fan Gil Garcia described the rivalry plain and simple: “(It’s) deadly. We don’t like each other.”

Despite the numerous clashes both outside and inside the stadium, event promoter Tim Luce was satisfied with the response. “I think we had adequate security,” event promoter Tim Luce said. “The police were prepared and stepped in quickly when the trouble began, and I commend them for their professional actions.”

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.