The game between Vitesse and Sparta was definitively stopped on Friday evening deep in injury time at a score of 0-1. Vitesse fans misbehaved in their own Gelredome in such a way that the safety of the players could no longer be guaranteed.
Sparta shot off the starting blocks in Arnhem and took the lead after five minutes. A lightning-fast counter came via Mario Engels to Adrián Dalmau and the attacker completed in two instances.
The better chances were then for Vitesse, but it was Sparta that found the net again. Dalmau thought he would score his second goal of the evening, but was rightly whistled back due to offside.
Vitesse coach Thomas Letsch made three changes in the half in the hope of turning the game around. While the Sparta players were increasingly suffering from injuries, the Arnhem team tried to keep the pace in the game. After more than an hour of play, Vitesse had the ideal opportunity to equalize the score. Tom Beugelsdijk pushed Thomas Buitink over and referee Rob Dieperink pointed to the spot. Lois Openda pushed behind the ball, but his effort was beautifully turned by Maduka Okoye.
In injury time, things went badly wrong in the Gelredome. First a Vitesse supporter came onto the field and after Okoye had chased him off the field, football was resumed. Then the Sparta goalkeeper got a cup of beer on his head and when his teammates went to tell the story, a lot more was thrown on the field.
Referee Dieperink decided to temporarily suspend the match. As the game came to a halt, fireworks were thrown and fights broke out in the stands. In the end, the players didn’t come out anymore. It is not yet known what will happen to the remaining minutes.
‘Match of Peace’
The match was previously declared a ‘match of peace’ by the home team. The club with a Russian owner wanted to draw attention to the war in Ukraine.
“The incident will be investigated by the disciplinary committee,” the statement said KNVB know. “The investigation will focus on the question of guilt for the incident. The professional football board will then have to decide what to do with the remainder of the match. The board has three options here. The score (0-1) becomes the final score, the match must be continued from the moment of abandonment or the match must be replayed in its entirety.”
Vitesse fans were also negatively in the news two weeks ago. The KNVB football association started a preliminary investigation last week into the misconduct of Vitesse supporters during the away match at FC Utrecht (1-1) on 20 February. When the match in stadium De Galgenwaard had been going on for almost half an hour, fireworks were thrown from the branch.
Vitesse had already explicitly distanced itself from the behavior of some of the supporters on the same day and apologized. The club said it will do everything it can to find the perpetrators and ensure that they receive “appropriate sentences”. Earlier this season, similar disturbances took place at Vitesse against FC Utrecht in Arnhem.
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