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Peruvian soccer players say opponents drugged them

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Players from a second-division team became ill during a match
  • Tests showed Hijos de Acosvinchos players had ingested barbiturates
  • The team alleges that their opponents, Sport Ancash, spiked water
  • Sport Ancash officials say rivals probably had eaten bad chicken
RELATED TOPICS
  • Peru

(CNN) -- For the Hijos de Acosvinchos soccer team, there was a lot at stake in their match Sunday against Sport Ancash.

If Hijos de Acosvinchos won, or simply tied, it would be enough to promote the team from Peru's second division to the top tier.

Their opponents, the team alleges, did everything in their power to stop that from happening, including allegedly spiking water bottles with barbiturates to slow down their players.

In the end, four players from Hijos de Acosvinchos became ill, including one who passed out on the field.

The players allege that they became sick after they accepted water offered by Sport Ancash staff.

"I had a very bad taste in my throat and that was the reason I drank while on the field. I felt lucid, but became more worried when my teammates started to fall on the field," said player Martin Reategui.

The affected players were tested, and sure enough, lab results indicated that they had ingested barbiturates.

The coach for Hijos de Acosvinchos, Americo Ibanez, said that the offending water was brought onto the field during a pause in the action when a Sport Ancash player was hurt. Waterboys from Sport Ancash offered water bottles to players from Hijos de Acosvinchos, he said.

The players reported a slightly bitter taste to the water but said nothing and continued to play until they fell ill.

Sport Ancash officials denied that the players were drugged, and said that they had probably eaten some bad rotisserie chicken.

Sport Ancash won the game, 3-0.

Journalist Maria Elena Belaunde contributed to this report.