Fans halt game after Sundowns rip Pirates apart
Play was halted for an hour Saturday in a South African league match after Orlando Pirates supporters invaded the pitch when the team fell 6-0 behind against Mamelodi Sundowns.
As frustrated fans wearing Pirates’ colours raced on to the Loftus Versfeld stadium field in Pretoria after 82 minutes, the players and match officials darted unharmed to the dressing rooms.
Several spectators were injured and taken to hospital as rival supporters clashed before police restored order.
The invasion came after Percy Tau scored the sixth and final goal for CAF Champions League title-holders Sundowns in a mid-season South African Premiership match.
The most serious football crowd trouble in South Africa this season came a day after at least 17 people died in an Angolan stadium stampede.
Angolan police said hundreds of fans tried to enter an already full stadium in northern town Uige, triggering a crush that led some people to fall and be trampled to death.
A doctor at the military hospital in Uige, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Saturday that the death toll had risen from the official figure of 17 to 22.
There were no further goals in Pretoria when play resumed and the defeat was the heaviest suffered by Soweto-based Pirates in their 80-year history.
It was the second time this season that Pirates have conceded six goals in a league match, losing 6-1 to SuperSport United last November.
Turkish coach Muhsin Ertugral quit immediately after that thrashing to be replaced on a caretaker basis by long-time club employee Peruvian Augusto Palacios.
Although virtually all Pirates’ supporters had left the stadium when play resumed, Palacios did not return to the touchline, staying in the changeroom.
Percy Tau and Thapelo Morena scored two goals each and Themba Zwane and Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento one apiece for defending champions Sundowns, who led 2-0 at half-time.
Victory lifted Sundowns to fifth, three points behind leaders and fellow Pretoria club SuperSport United with four matches in hand, while former African champions Pirates remained 10th.
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