BASTIA, France — Bastia’s home game with Lyon in French Ligue 1 was abandoned at halftime after supporters of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked the visiting players on Sunday. A hardcore section of 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.” Bottom-of-the-table Bastia 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 soccer 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 soccer violence — saw former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay reportedly among the Lyon players confronted 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 took refuge behind a metal gate in the tunnel. Baying Mob at Gates 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.