Seville derby suspended after object thrown from stands hits player

Seville, Spain, Jan 15 (EFE).- Saturday’s Copa del Rey round-of-16 match between Sevilla and cross-town rivals Real Betis was suspended with six minutes left in the first half after a player was struck in the head by an object thrown from the stands.

The incident occurred as Betis and their supporters were still celebrating a goal by Nabil Fekir that brought the hosts level just four minutes after Papu Gomez gave Sevilla a 1-0 lead.

Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan was standing near his team’s goal when what was later identified as a hollow PVC pipe measuring 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) in length hit the back of his head.

In his post-match report, referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea said that the pipe came from a section of the south stand at Betis’ Benito Villamarin stadium with supporters waving “banners of the local team.”

Play was halted for eight minutes as the Sevilla medics tended to Jordan before De Burgos decided to start the half-time break.

Sevilla players headed to the dressing room, while the Betis squad remained on the field as the stadium’s video screens displayed messages reminding fans of the prohibition on throwing objects from the stands.

About 45 minutes later, and after consulting with the respective coaches and team captains, the referee announced that the match was suspended.

Betis players gathered in the middle of the pitch to salute their supporters as they began to file out of the stadium.

The roughly 400 Sevilla fans among the crowd of 45,000 remained seated in the visiting section awaiting instructions from police.

The Seville derby is typically accompanied by tensions between the rival supporters and on this occasion, municipal authorities deployed some 600 police, firefighters and private security guards to the stadium to avert violence.

De Burgos said that a Sevilla team official informed him that Jordan had been taken to a nearby hospital for “re-evaluation.” EFE agr-mds/dr

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