Ref takes players off field after fan trouble at Montpellier

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Montpellier’s 3-0 home win against local rival Nimes on Sunday was interrupted for more than 30 minutes after a crowd disturbance late in the second half.

The southern French sides are about one hour apart by car and have a hostile rivalry.

After striker Gaetan Laborde’s header made it 3-0 in the 79th minute, a crowd commotion caused referee Ruddy Buquet to halt the game and lead the players off the field.

Around 80 riot police came on to stop a section of Montpellier fans from getting across to confront Nimes supporters. Earlier this year, Nimes fans took a long-standing stadium banner used by Montpellier’s “ultras” supporters at home games and appeared to goad them by unfurling it after the third Montpellier goal.

Several Montpellier players went over to their angry fans in a bid to calm them down.

When the players came back out, Montpellier’s stadium announcer pleaded with home fans not to cause any more trouble or risk being stripped of the three points by the French league’s disciplinary committee.

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It proved an eventful afternoon.

Earlier, a metal gate gave way in the 29th minute after Montpellier fans celebrated the second goal, sending a few of them spilling onto the pitch and causing the match to be delayed for the first time. Reports said two fans sustained light injuries.

There was also some fan trouble in France on Saturday, when Guingamp fans sustained light injuries after projectiles were thrown at their coach following a game at Angers.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.Com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.Com/AP_Sports.

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