Fan violence delays Lyon-Besiktas game in Europa League


The first leg of the Europa League quarterfinal tie between Besiktas and Lyon has been delayed after violence between the fans caused many to flee onto the field.

We spent the entire 45 minutes worrying and wondering if there would be a new kick-off time.

Amid the chaos Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas pleaded with fans to remain calm and was seen remonstrating with one supporter on the pitch.

15,000 traveling Besiktas fans resulted in heightened security around Lyon, but that hasn't stopped rival supporters from clashing in the streets, in the stadium and with police.

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Lyon tweeted out a picture of the scenes with the caption: "Projectiles and fireworks launched from the top of the stands require supporters to seek refuge on the pitch".

As the match - which Lyon won 2-1 - progressed, blame for the violence was already being apportioned.

French authorities feared that Turkish fans might attempt some kind of political demonstration, and had designated the game to be "high-risk".

There is a return match scheduled for April 20 in Istanbul, which reportedly has a hostile reputation against visiting fans.

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"I don't know what should be done: to play behind closed doors or elsewhere (at a neutral venue)", Aulas asked. "But it would be very unsafe for us to face this opponent with the same supporters as tonight".

Besiktas had taken an early lead through former Liverpool striker Ryan Babel before the referee was forced to hand away fans a further warning after flares were lit in the stands.

It comes just days after Borussia Dortmund's team bus was the target of three explosions, which saw Marc Bartra hospitalised, meaning the game was postponed by 24 hours.

Uefa has charged Lyon and Besiktas for multiple offences during Thursday's Europa League quarter-final first leg.

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