Tel Aviv derby abandoned after pitch invader attacks player | inside World Soccer

The Tel Aviv derby between Hapoel and Maccabi on Monday night had to be suspended after a violent brawl broke out between a pitch invader and one of the visiting players.

Maccabi Tel Aviv player Eran Zahavi fights with a Hapoel Tel Aviv supporter
Maccabi Tel Aviv player Eran Zahavi fights with a Hapoel Tel Aviv supporter

Photo: YouTube

The derby between the two major Tel Aviv clubs is always a highlight match for the arch-rival outfits whose respective hard line supporters are bitter adversaries.

With the match tied at 1-1 in the 34th minute, one angry and shirtless Hapoel fan broke onto the pitch and confronted Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi.

Zahavi, who played for Hapoel between 2006 and 2011, fought back and incredibly was sent off by the referee.

The 27-year-old urged his teammates to walk off the pitch with him and it took around 10 minutes until Zahavi left the pitch to a barrage of cups and anything else Hapoel fans could get their hands on.

Play was restarted briefly but a further pitch invasion by a handful of other fans, apparently from both sides, forced the abandonment with both teams in the dressing rooms.

Police have arrested 10 people suspected of disrupting the peace, violence and breaking into the stadium's pitch.

"I've been saying for years that local football is too much like war," said Hapoel general manager Eyal Berkovic. "It is about time we understand that football is sport.

"I asked the referee to stop the match. As soon as the pitch becomes a battle field there is no point in playing.

"Both teams should receive a very heavy punishment. This is a dark day for local football."


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