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Match called off after fan attacks player on pitch

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Match called off after fan attacks player on pitch
07:40 CEST+02:00
A firework injured Helsingborg's goalkeeper, who was then attacked by a supporter on the pitch, prompting officials to call off Tuesday night's match against archrivals Malmö FF in the latest instance of football supporter violence in Sweden.

The start of the derby between the south Sweden rivals was delayed by several minutes after supporters for both teams lit fireworks in the stands.

After play finally commenced, it took 30 minutes for Helsingborg's Rachid Bouaouzan to net what would be the first and only goal of the truncated match, giving the visitors the advantage over defending Allsvenskan champions Malmö.

But shortly after Helsingborg took the lead, a firework was thrown from the stands at Helsingborg goalkeeper Pär Hansson, who immediately fell to his knees, clutching his head in pain.

As his teammates went to assist him, a Malmö supporter ran onto the field and managed to throw a punch at the already-suffering Hansson before teammates and police managed to wrestle the man to the ground.

"I just heard a bang and that Pär went down. Then I saw a person simply walk up to Hansson through it all and land a punch; it's just terrible," Malmö head trainer Roland Nilsson told Canal Plus.

In the wake of the disruption, referee Stefan Johannesson called off the match.

"When something like that happens on the pitch that can cause injury to players, there's really nothing to discuss. That's something that the players' association and we referees decided together a few weeks ago," he told Canal Plus after the match.

"We were in total agreement to just call off the match."

Malmö team captain Daniel Andersson expressed his disappointment and disgust following the incident.

"This hurts Malmö FF quite a lot. A supporter should support the team; this just hurts us," he told the local Skånska Dagblaget newspaper.

"I thought that Mälmö FF had come far in working with the supporters, but…"

Trainer Nilsson also voiced his frustration at the behaviour of the Malmö supporters.

"There was no reason to continue the match. There is a lot of frustration in the changing room over what happened…to carry on with crap like this," he told the newspaper.

Conny Karlsson, trainer for Helsingborg, said the fact that his club would likely be awarded a 3-0 victory for the match wasn't important.

"Now something has to be done about these damn maniacs," he told Skanska Dagbladet.

The incident comes just four weeks after an Allsvenskan match between Stockholm club AIK and Syrianska of Södertälje was called off after a firework thrown from the crowd hit and injured a referee.

The Swedish Football Association's disciplinary committee ruled against home team Syrianska, which was leading 1-0 at the time, handing AIK a 3-0 victory. However, AIK was also fined 150,000 kronor ($23,500).

The latest incident in Malmö could result in stiffer penalties because a supporter was attacked on the field by a supporter.

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