Saturday 25 November 2017

Match halted as inflatable banana thrown at former Premier League star in 'racist' attack

Roma progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League with victory over Feyenoord but the match was overshadowed by crowd trouble in Rotterdam, including an apparent incident of racism.

Goals from Adem Ljajic and Gervinho helped Roma seal a 3-2 aggregate win following the 1-1 first-leg draw, but it was more ugly scenes off the field which will dominate the headlines.

The first leg in Rome was also marred by trouble involving visiting fans and there were reports of unrest before Thursday's return meeting as well, with police said to have detained 17 people.

The second leg was then played amid a hostile and intimidating atmosphere at De Kuip.

French referee Clement Turpin spoke to both managers towards the end of a volatile first half after Roma's Ivory Coast forward Gervinho seemingly had an inflatable banana thrown in his direction from a section of the stadium housing Feyenoord fans.

The match was then suspended for around 15 minutes at the start of the second half when Turpin took the players off the pitch.

Roma's Gervinho takes part in a training session at the Kuip stadium in Rotterdam February before tonight's game
Roma's Gervinho takes part in a training session at the Kuip stadium in Rotterdam February before tonight's game

It was not immediately clear why the match had been halted but it came moments after Turpin had shown Feyenoord substitute Mitchell Te Vrede a straight red card for a challenge on Kostas Manolas.

Te Vrede, who looked astonished to be dismissed, was on the pitch because the man he replaced, Colin Kazim-Richards, had gone off. Kazim-Richards had earlier been hit in the face by Daniele De Rossi's arm.

De Rossi, who escaped punishment for that incident, had been attempting to block his opponent from challenging Roma keeper Lukasz Skorupski following a through-ball.

When the players eventually came back out after the suspension, there was more drama as Feyenoord scored almost immediately after the match restarting to level up the scores once again when Elvis Manu - who had replaced Khalid Boulahrouz following Te Vrede's red card - broke through to slide a shot past Lukasz Skorupski.

As the home side celebrated that goal, Feyenoord reserve goalkeeper Erwin Mulder was also shown a red card following a touchline incident.

Feyenoord's joy at equalising was short-lived, though, as Roma netted what would prove to be the decisive goal just three minutes later as Gervinho slotted past Kenneth Vermeer to make it 3-2 on aggregate.

With tensions remaining high in a match which saw objects regularly being thrown onto the pitch, Feyenoord pushed for a goal that even things up again on the night, but they could find no way past Skorupski.

Feyenoord's exit from the competition is unlikely to be the end of the matter for the Dutch side, though, with UEFA expected to launch an investigation into Thursday's incidents.

Press Association

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