Brazilian second-division club Bahia said at least three of its players were injured by a homemade explosive that detonated inside the team’s bus on Thursday on its way to a match it later won.
Bahia said on Twitter that goalkeeper Danilo Fernandes is in a hospital due to shattered glass in his face. The club also confirmed left-back Matheus Bahia and forward Marcelo Cirino are hurt.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (US only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
Fernandes said on a social media posts that he is OK, without giving further details.
Bahia posted pictures of bus seats covered in blood and another showing a large hole in one of the windows.
The team played Sampaio Correia in a match later Thursday for the Copa do Nordeste, a regional championship in Brazil’s northeast. Bahia won 2-0, a result that players barely celebrated after the match. Daniel opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and Hugo Rodallega added the second in the 89th minute.
Bahia state police said in a statement they are investigating the incident, which took place in the club’s hometown of Salvador.
« We will collect footage, statements from players and witnesses that were on the spot at that moment. We will use our maximum capabilities to identify and arrest the perpetrators, » police investigator Victor Spinola told media at the Arena Fonte Nova.
Local media reports suggest Bahia fans are among the suspects, in what seemed to be an attempt to intimidate players to deliver better results. No suspects have been arrested in connection with the case.
Bahia were relegated to Brazil’s second division last year and has won only one of its last six matches.
A car that was next to the team’s bus also had one of its windows destroyed by the explosion.
Bahia coach Guto Ferreira told media the team decided to play the match « because of its dignity and its professionalism. »
« This is stupid, people believe such moves will intimidate an athlete, making him perform, » Ferreira said. « It always the coach that is bad, the player is bad. That’s not how you solve problems. »
Brazil has a history of fan intimidation against football players, but violent incidents like Thursday’s in Salvador are rare.