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Soccer-Monkey chants aimed at Brazilian player in Peru

Reuters

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Peruvian fans greeted a Brazilian player with a chorus of monkey chants during a Libertadores Cup match, an incident Brazil President Dilma Rousseff described on Thursday as "lamentable".

Supporters of Real Garcilaso repeatedly insulted Cruzeiro substitute Tinga after the former Borussia Dortmund and Sporting player came on as a second-half substitute during Wednesday's match in the Andean city of Huancayo.

The game ended in a shock 2-1 win for Garcilaso against the Brazilian champions, and the president of Cruzeiro's arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro said it ruined his enjoyment of their defeat.

"At the start I thought they were simply jeering, maybe because I'm well-known here and have played in the Libertadores before," the 36-year-old Tinga told Cruzeiro's official website (www.cruzeiro.com.br).

"Then I realised it was a racist insult. It upset me but I tried to stay focused on the game, I wanted to win.

"I played in Europe for several years and you hear a lot of talk about racism there but it never happened to me. Then, all of a sudden, this happens, in a country close to home, in a mixed-raced country similar to ours."

Rousseff used her Twitter account to comment on the incident.

"The racism episode involving Tinga, of Cruzeiro, in Peru was lamentable," she said. "We are all together with Tinga."

The monkey chants began when Tinga entered the field and could be clearly heard on the television broadcast echoing around the stadium every time he touched the ball.

"I would exchange all my titles for the end of prejudice," said Tinga, who won two Libertadores titles with Internacional and the Brazilian championship with Cruzeiro last year.

The South American Football Confederation said on their Copa Libertadores Twitter account that they "repudiated" the incidents and would study possible sanctions against the Peruvian team.

Cruzeiro said they would launch an official protest, although they seemed primarily to be unhappy with the stadium used and the host city of Huancayo, which lies at 3,200 metres above sea level.

The racist incidents were mentioned in a brief paragraph at the end of a statement on the club's website.

"This stadium is in no state (to host the match). The city doesn't have a hotel, it's without water," said director of football Alexandre Mattos.

"There was no water in the changing rooms ... it's a small place where football should not even exist."

Alexandre Kalil, president of Atletico Mineiro, commented on Twitter: "Racism in the Libertadores? It took away the pleasure of a Cruzeiro defeat. Lamentable."

(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Stephen Wood) )

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