A security staff holds Lyon’s goalkeeper Anthony Lopes (C) during scuffles at half-time between some of Lyon’s players and Bastia supporters who invaded the pitch, during the French L1 football match Bastia (SCB) vs Lyon (OL) on April 16, 2017 in the Armand Cesari stadium in Bastia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. Before the match, dozens of Bastia fans invaded the pitch at their Armand Cesari stadium and attacked Lyon players as they warmed up for a French Ligue 1 game. PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / 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 two sides went in for the break with the score at 0-0.
“We must stop, we must stop, they hit the players,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio told club president Jean-Michel Aulas in the corridors of the stadium. “We’re not going to war.”
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 while the Nice team bus had its windows smashed.
“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 over whether the game should go ahead.
Lyon’s players had been 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 four days 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.
Former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay was reportedly among the Lyon players pushed by Bastia fans in ugly scenes.
Stewards and security staff rushed to intervene and for a few minutes there was chaos and scuffles until the playing surface was cleared and the Lyon players protected in the tunnel by a metal gate.
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.
– Baying mob at gates –
However stewards were powerless to prevent more disturbances at the half-time whistle, triggered by a confrontation between a Bastia official and Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who had to be restrained by security men and appeared to be the chief target of the Bastia fans.
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.
Lyon’s players huddled in the dressing rooms and later left the stadium in their team bus after security guards dispersed hundreds of waiting Bastia fans massed at the gates of the ground.
Lyon star striker Alexandre Lacazette, who was not playing, tweeted: “Pfffff shameful!”
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.