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Santa Fe’s Hugo Rodallega: “Being called a monkey is just depressing”

The Santa Fe striker spoke to ESPN after the Copa Sudamericana game in La Plata and stated that the fans of the home side used offensive racist towards him and other teammates.

Hugo Rodallega of Independiente Santa Fe
Mauricio Duenas CastanedaEFE

The Copa Sudamericana Group G match between Gimnasia y Esgrima de la Plata and Independiente Santa Fe was marked by controversy. Three red cards were brandished to Santa Fe’s Wilson Morelo and head coach Gerardo Bedoya with Gimnasia’s Felipe Sánchez also being red carded before the interval. The contest was overshadowed however by Hugo Rodallega’s claims at the end of the game where he stated that he and some of his Santa Fe teammates were subjected to racist abuse during the contest by Gimnasia supporters.

Bruno Palazzo (i) of Gimnasia and Hugo Rodallega (d) of Santa Fe
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Bruno Palazzo (i) of Gimnasia and Hugo Rodallega (d) of Santa FeDemian Alday EstevezEFE

A visibly emotional Rodallega spoke to ESPN at the end of the game and stated that he was more hurt by the abuse in the stadium than by the loss. “We just don’t improve as a human race. It’s terrible that this is happening in the whole world and but the issue of racism is just so draining,” he said.

According to the striker, the home fans used racist words adding: “when they call you a monkey or call you black it’s sad and a huge lack of respect and it’s just wrong and depressing. It happened to other players too ...look, we can have problems on the pitch and things can be tense between players, we can get sent off, but when people use your race ...it makes me not angry but just sad” he added.

Rodallega stated that the Gimnasia expedition were treated well in Bogotá: “It doesn’t hurt me that we lost, games can be lost in the last minute and we did the same in Bogotá. But it’s what happened in the in the stadium that hurts me. In Bogotá we treated them well, and today they didn’t show us any respect and that makes me sad”.

Santa Fe sit in third place in Group G

With this result, Gerardo Bedoya’s team lie in third position in Group G after four games with 4 points after a win, a draw and two losses. Brazilian side Goias lead the group on 8 points, Universitario from Peru are in second place with seven points and Gimnasia prop up the table with three points. The top two sides progress to the next stage of the competition.