The Ligue 1 clash between Nice and Olympique de Marseille was abandoned in the 75th minute on Sunday after serious crowd problems as Marseille players clashed with local supporters who bombarded them with missiles and burst on field.
Kind supporters threw water bottles as Marseille were about to take a corner and, after striker Dimitri Payet threw one back at them, a full-scale brawl ensued as some of the fans pulled out are rushed into the field. The two teams withdrew into the tunnel and the game was suspended for 90 minutes before referee Benoit Bastien declared the match abandoned, the Nice players returning to the field a few minutes earlier, the Marseille players refusing to join them. .
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere called on Nice supporters to calm down on the sound system during the delay but the angry Marseille players and staff refused to continue. Marseille president Pablo Longoria said the club decided not to continue the game despite a decision by football authorities to resume play.
“The League decided that the game should continue but we decided not to do so because the safety of our players was not guaranteed,” he told a press conference. “This is the second time this has happened. We have already experienced this in Montpellier where we decided to continue after the decision to continue was taken.
“What happened today is unacceptable. We have to make it a precedent for French football and that is why we have decided to return to Marseille.” Revere partially blamed Payet and his teammate Alvaro Gonzales for the chaos after he retaliated by throwing bottles at Nice fans and accused Marseille staff of hitting some of the players at home.
“It’s disappointing that the game ends like this,” he said. “Everyone saw what happened. We can’t deny that water bottles were thrown away because we all got to see it. What triggered the clashes was the reaction of two Marseille players who responded.
“Afterwards, it is deplorable that Marseille security personnel intervened on the pitch and hit our players.” Marseille’s 3-2 victory at Montpellier in the first round was delayed for 15 minutes in the 89th minute after home supporters threw water bottles at visiting players and it only resumed after the organizers have warned the crowd that it could be dropped.
French daily L’Equipe reported that Marseillais Payet, Matteo Guendouzi and Luan Peres were injured in clashes with the Nice crowd on Sunday and that riot police were deployed in front of the crowded ultras bleachers at home. Nice were leading 1-0 when the game was interrupted after Sweden striker Kasper Dolberg shot them in the lead in the 49th minute with Marseille missing a series of chances in the first half. (Written by Zoran Milosavljevic; edited by Ken Ferris)
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