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Mexican stadium closed after fans riot, 17 arrests

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Guadalajara city authorities closed the Jalisco stadium on Sunday after fans clashed with police leaving close to 40 people injured and 17 arrested after the local derby.

Fans of the Guadalajara Chivas, who had earlier lit dozens of flares, fought a running battle with outnumbered police on the upper terraces of the stadium near the end of Saturday's 1-1 draw with bitter city rivals Atlas.

Television footage showed police helmets and truncheons flying through the air and officers pushed down the terraces by fans wearing red and white striped Guadalajara shirts.

"We're going to proceed according to the regulations. After revising the evidence we're going to close the building," Jesus Lomeli, general secretary of Guadalajara town hall, told reporters.

Lomeli said 17 people were arrested and media published photos of seals on the gates of the stadium in the city 530 km west of Mexico City with the word "Closed" on them.

"Eight policemen are injured, two of them seriously though out of danger. There are 30 civilians hurt, one of them gravely but out of danger. They are being treated at various hospitals," Lomeli said.

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) expressed its support to Guadalajara city authorities in their search for the culprits.

"We reaffirm our commitment to a clean game inside and outside the grounds, the Federation will at all times support the investigation so as to identify and punish those responsible for such pitiful acts," a FMF statement said.

Guadalajara took an early lead through striker Aldo De Nigris but Paraguayan Jose Ortigoza equalized in the 72nd minute for home side Atlas.

The Chivas are seventh in the Clausura championship standings with 17 points from 12 matches and Atlas 12th with 14.

Leaders Cruz Azul were held to a 0-0 draw at title holders Leon, who had Mexico's veteran World Cup captain and former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez sent off in the closing minutes for a second booking.

Cruz Azul have 29 points from their 12 matches, a four-point lead over second-placed Toluca who were looking to close the gap with a win at Atlante later on Sunday.

The top eight qualify for the knockout phase at the end of the 17-match league stage.

(Reporting by Carlos Calvo; Writing by Rex Gowar; editing by Justin Palmer/Greg Stutchbury)

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