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Blanco and the bees carry a sting in Mexico-El Salvador World Cup qualifier

October 10, 2009 |  4:31 pm

Bees_300 There has been an extraordinary start to Mexico's World Cup qualifying match against El Salvador at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City this afternoon.

The game was less than two minutes old when Guatemalan referee Carlos Batres stopped play at the request of Salvadoran goalkeeper Miguel Montes because a swarm of bees or wasps had taken up residence in Montes' net.

What followed was almost comical.

With players and officials unsure what to do, it took a while before a couple of fire extinguishers were carried onto the field, after which the insects were enveloped in a fog of whatever it is that fire extinguishers contain.

The bees and wasps didn't seem to mind. In fact it just sent them airborne and they settled again on the midfield sideline, a large number coming to rest on a television microphone, whose operator banged it on the ground to dislodge the insects before he and the bees were again soaked in fire retardant.

Eventually, after a roughly 10-minute delay, the game resumed. Within 15 minutes, midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who shook off a hamstring injury and started, put Mexico in the lead. When his close-range shot hit the back of the soaked Salvadoran net, it sent the spray from the fire extinguishers flying again.

Mexico can qualify for the 2010 World Cup with a victory. El Salvador has to win or be eliminated.

Much more later at

--Grahame L. Jones

Photo: An Azteca Stadium worker sprays fire retardant on a goal after a swarm of bees or wasps swarmed there at the start of the Mexico-El Salvador soccer game on Saturday. Credit: Omar Torres / AFP / Getty Images