Four youths about to play a soccer match in a northern Colombian town were slain by gunmen on motorcycles, the media said.

The crime was perpetrated Thursday in a rural area of San Carlos, a town in Cordoba province, the daily El Tiempo said on its Web site.

Witnesses cited by the newspaper said the armed men raced their motorcycles onto the playing field and started shooting indiscriminately at the players of one team.

Three of the youths died at the scene and another expired while being taken to hospital.

Students who were watching the match along with the rest of spectators panicked and ran to find safety in nearby homes.

Police, who arrived minutes after the shooting, immediately began investigating the case. EFE