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Match abandoned after Bastia fans attack Lyon players


Bastia (France) (AFP) – Bastia’s home game with Lyon in French Ligue 1 was abandoned at half time after supporters of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked the visiting players on Sunday.

Home fans at Bastia’s Armand Cesari stadium targeted Lyon’s players as they warmed up before the game, causing it to be delayed by more than 50 minutes, and then again as the visitors went in for the break.

Bastia, who were sitting bottom of the league going into the match, are likely to have points deducted for the latest trouble involving their supporters.

Bastia were punished in February over racist abuse directed at Nice striker Mario Balotelli.

“Following the new incident at the end of the first period, the LFP decided to definitively stop the game between Bastia and Lyon,” the French professional football league (LFP) said in a statement.

In the first incident Lyon players fled to the dressing rooms and the 1500 GMT kick-off was consequently delayed as captains and officials from the two teams and league officials held talks.

Lyon’s players were finishing their pre-game warm-up when about 50 Bastia fans — many of them dressed in black — attacked them, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The trouble — the second time in a week that Lyon have been caught up in football violence — started when a Bastia fan from behind the goal where Lyon were practising approached the goalmouth and kicked a ball.

That sparked an exchange with a Lyon player and more Bastia supporters from behind the goal quickly streamed onto the pitch.

Stewards and Lyon security staff rushed to intervene and for a few minutes there was chaos and scuffles until the playing surface was cleared.

Visiting Lyon initially refused to leave the changing rooms again, but eventually did so to warm up for a second time and the game kicked off soon after with stewards lined up on the edge of the pitch.

However they were powerless to prevent more disturbances at the half-time whistle, triggered by a confrontation between Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and a Bastia official.

The French league’s disciplinary commission is certain to hit Bastia hard after it docked them one point — suspended — and ordered the club to close its East Stand for three games over the monkey chants by some of its fans at Balotelli.

On Thursday fans streamed onto the pitch in Lyon’s Europa League home clash with Besiktas and the start of the quarter-final first leg was delayed by 45 minutes as officials attempted to clear their Parc OL playing area of fans.

Home supporters poured onto the pitch as they attempted to protect themselves from firecrackers and other objects raining down from the stands above.

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