BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - San Lorenzo must keep a tight rein on the behaviour of their fans if the Argentine club are to successfully defend the Libertadores Cup which kicks off with the group phase this week.
Not only were they drawn in a tough section but they also have to play their first home match against 2012 champions Corinthians of Brazil on March 4 behind closed doors after crowd trouble at last year’s final.
Organisers CONMEBOL punished the Saints in September after fans lit fireworks during the second leg of the final at the Nuevo Gasometro in August when they beat Paraguay’s Nacional 1-0 to take their first title 2-1 on aggregate.
CONMEBOL reminded the club of the sanction after a linesman was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd during San Lorenzo’s defeat by Copa Sudamericana holders River Plate in the South American Cup Winners’ Cup final last Wednesday.
“(The club were punished) with one match without spectators owing to the use of fireworks in the Libertadores final against Nacional of Paraguay. San Lorenzo also had to pay a fine of $100,000,” the Saints said on their website (www.sanlorenzo.com.ar).
CONMEBOL is looking at video evidence of last week’s incident with a view to possible further sanctions, sources who declined to be identified from the organisation based in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion told Reuters.
San Lorenzo kick off their defence of South America’s champions league crown on Thursday against Uruguay’s Danubio (2245 GMT) in Montevideo in Group Two which also includes triple winners Sao Paulo.
A strong field including 12 former champions divided into eight groups of four teams will look to wrest the crown from the Saints. (For full fixture list see)
Additional reporting by Daniela Desantis in Asuncion, editing by Tony Jimenez