Nice (France) (AFP) – The French Ligue 1 game between Nice and Marseille was abandoned Sunday when fans of the home side invaded the pitch and angrily confronted opposing player Dimitri Payet, who had thrown a bottle lobbed at him back into the crowd, before an ugly brawl broke out involving players and spectators.
Marseille eventually refused to restart the match with club officials claiming their players were attacked and that their safety could not be guaranteed.
Trouble at the Allianz Riviera Stadium flared in the 75th minute when Marseille star Payet, who had been targeted by plastic bottles every time he took a corner, launched one back at the Nice fans.
Angry home supporters then clambered onto the pitch, threatening Payet before the referee led both teams to the safety of the dressing room.
In the melee, Marseille’s Alvaro Gonzalez and Matteo Guendouzi ran towards the end of the ground to face down the fans.
Nice skipper Dante then attempted to calm angry supporters.
A security cordon of stewards, dressed in yellow vests, tried to stem the pitch invasion before a brawl broke out between players of the two teams, supporters and staff.
Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli was seen being restrained by his staff and players.
Eighty minutes after the game was suspended, Nice, who were leading through a Kasper Dolberg goal, said they wanted to restart.
Marseille, however, wanted the match halted for good.
“The decision was taken by the authorities to resume the match, but Marseille do not want to,” Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere told broadcaster Prime Video.
According to a source, the referee Benoit Bastien was also opposed to a restart.
“I think the match is not going to resume,” said Nice coach Christophe Galtier.
“We have just been told that the Marseille players have already showered.”
Eventually, the match was abandoned when the Marseille team refused to return to the pitch.
“Our players were attacked,” said Marseille president Pablo Longoria.
“We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume the match because the safety of our players was not guaranteed.”
Marseille’s opening 3-2 win at Montpellier two weeks ago was also held up when fans pelted the pitch with bottles.
That clash at Montpellier’s Stade Mosson was halted in the 89th minute after Marseille substitute Valentin Rongier was hit on the head.
Montpellier’s Florent Mollet was also hit as he readied to take a corner.
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