Police clear the pitch before Lens match


French Sports Minister called for “reality check … starting with fans” after season marred by fan chaos

Racing Club de Lens beat defending French champions Lille OSC 1-0 on Saturday in a derby from the north overshadowed by a pitch invasion that delayed the start of the second half by 30 minutes.

Dozens of Lens supporters stormed the lawn of the Bollaert-Delelis stadium at half-time to face the passing Lille fans tucked away in a corner of the pitch after tensions erupted with other spectators.

Riot police intervened to separate opposing fan factions as the two fan groups threw seats at each other over a bulkhead.

Photo: Reuters

“We are trying to have a clear vision. It took place in some confusion. Of course, any act of violence is condemned by Lens ”, declared the general manager of the club Arnaud Pouille. “Unfortunately, the image of the region is affected by what has happened.

“I have a clear idea of ​​the facts, but I don’t want to influence anyone,” he added. “You saw the pictures. There were actions that triggered things and a reaction, which is damaging. “

Six people were slightly injured and the police made two arrests, according to the sub-prefect of Lens.

The issue comes the week after OGC Nice lost a point following the horrific incidents that led to their August 22 home game being abandoned against Olympique Marseille.

This match is to be replayed at a neutral venue on October 27. Nice has also been ordered to play three games behind closed doors.

A clash between Montpellier and Marseille on the opening weekend of the season was also put on hold for around 10 minutes after supporters threw bottles on the pitch.

“This start to the season is not going to help us. A return to reality is quickly necessary for all those involved in football, starting with the supporters, ”French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu wrote on Twitter.

Polish midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski scored the winning goal in the 74th minute, allowing Lens to move up to second in Ligue 1, unbeaten in six games and three points behind Paris Saint-Germain, which was to host the ‘Olympique Lyonnais yesterday.

“They told us that there had been incidents between supporters, so that we could focus on ourselves and start over,” Lens goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca said.

“It’s always annoying when supporters come to blows in a football stadium. They too must set an example because there are children in the ground, ”he added.

Lille have won only once under the guidance of new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec and rank 13th with just five points.

“I find the loss hard because we hardly gave anything. We were beaten by half a chance, ”said Gourvennec, who replaced Christophe Galtier after his move to Nice this summer.

“We are falling behind in the championship by losing points. We have to do more, ”he said.

South Korean striker Hwang Ui-jo scored twice to give Girondins de Bordeaux their first win of the season, a 2-1 away win over AS Saint-Etienne.

Hwang’s first goal was called off by Wahbi Khazri, but he ensured that Bordeaux moved away from the foot of the table with the winner 10 minutes to go.

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