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Former Colombian international Zapata killed

23 April 2006 11:56

BOGOTA, Colombia (SW) – Former Colombian international player Martin Zapata was shot four times and eventually died on Saturday following an argument with five people in Cali, Colombia, according to police reports.

The 40-year-old Zapata was spending time at a local bar in the neighbourhood of Cali, when early Saturday the fatal incident happened.

Zapata’s infamous moment came in 1999, when his missed penalty kick cost the match in that season’s Copa Libertadores final against Brazilian club Palmeiras. It is yet unknown whether the offenders were motivated by that event.

Colombia has a sad history of footballers and coaches being killed over arguments on footballing incidents. The most famous affair was Andrés Escobar’s, who scored a fatal own-goal in the 1994 World Cup and later that year was shot in a Medellin bar after a stiff argument with locals questioning his commitment to Colombia’s cause.

“I'm very saddened by what has happened," were the words of Jose Hernandez, his former coach at Deportivo Cali. "He was an important player, who displayed great dynamism and temperament."

Zapata retired three years ago from active football, playing for Ecuador's Liga Deportiva Universitaria. His career started out in 1990 at Boca Juniors of Cali, then he moved to Colombian powerhouse Once Caldas, but his best years were spent at Deportivo Cali, where he was one of the leading figures in the club winning the 1998 league title and one year later reaching the Copa Libertadores final. During that period he was called up to represent Colombia.

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Primera A table

# Team MP D P
1 4 +4 10
2 3 +8 7
3 4 +2 7
4 4 +2 5
5 2 +1 4
6 2 +1 4
7 3 -2 4
8 3 -5 3
9 3 -1 2
10 2 -1 1
11 3 -6 1
12 3 -3 0

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