FC Sporting Lisbon has condemned the brutal assault at their players and staff after dozens of people with covered faces attacked a training center in the Portuguese capital’s suburb, where the team was practicing ahead of the Portuguese Cup final against Alves.
"Sporting is not this, Sporting can not be this. We will take every effort to establish full responsibility for what has happened and we will not fail to demand the punishment of those who acted in this absolutely pitiful way," a statement on the club’s website reads.
The Portuguese league also expressed revolt, stating, “The violent acts [that] the players and coaching staff of Sporting were subject to today. The perpetrators of these incidents are not fans of football. They are criminals.”
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.
This season’s best player, Dutch forward Bas Dost, who 13 goals in 12 matches for the club, was reportedly hit in head during the attack.
Midfielders Josip Mišić and Rodrigo Battaglia were also reportedly admitted to hospital. The assaulters also attacked head coach Jorge Jesus, the team’s goalkeeper Rui Patrício, and William Carvalho. The changing room was heavily damaged.
The staff didn't manage to prevent the 60 masked men from entering Sporting's locker room, where they attacked Fredy Montero, William Carvalho, Marcos Acuña and Misic with belts, sticks and punches. [MF] pic.twitter.com/R0tU9sTfUd— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) 16 мая 2018 г.
Following the attack, fans gathered to support their team and protest the brutality against the players and management.
More than 500 Sporting fans gathered outside Alvalade last night to display their disgust with the hooligan attack and show their support to the players, technical staff and the club.— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) 16 мая 2018 г.
This is proper fans. pic.twitter.com/scBWMTEAgH
Fans on Twitter also sent their support.
This madness needs to stop at my club. I'm tried of all the drama this season. It's absolutely ridiculous. This isn't Sporting. Those fans are scum. How the hell do you attack BAS DOST!?!?!? He's our offense so stupid man so stupid. I can't with these idiots— 🦁Bruno🇵🇹 (@Brunosko23) 15 мая 2018 г.
Hope the Sporting Lisbon players are ok after the attack— Adolfo Diaz (@BigBoss550) 16 мая 2018 г.
According the Argentinian portal TYC Sports, footballers Marcos Acuña and Rodrigo Battaglia, who were targeted, will terminate their contracts and leave the club.
The attack happened shortly after the club couldn’t get to the Champions League after losing to its rival Benfica in the Portuguese Championship.