French soccer blighted again by trouble

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Another Ligue 1 game has been marred by crowd trouble with Lyon's home match against Marseille abandoned after visiting midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit on the head by a bottle of water thrown from the stands.

Payet, who was preparing to take a corner, collapsed to the ground in the fifth minute of the match at Groupama Stadium before receiving treatment and leaving the field.

The referee ordered players to head to the change rooms with play suspended.

After a wait of about 75 minutes, a stadium announcement said play would resume but warned that "the match will definitely be halted if there's another incident".

Lyon's players returned to the field to warm-up but Marseille players did not, reluctant to resume the game, with Payet said to be shocked by the incident.

About two hours after kick-off, it was announced that the game had been abandoned.

"A player was physically hit. It is our duty to protect football players," referee Ruddy Buquet told Amazon Prime Video.

"We are responsible for their safety, that's the reason why the final decision was made."

Payet was taunted by Lyon fans before the game, and was the target of discriminatory insults, according to French league officials.

"He is hurt psychologically," Marseille president Pablo Longoria said about Payet.

"What's happening is not normal. We have always condemned any type of violence."

The person who threw the bottle was identified and arrested.

While Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas apologised to Payet, he insisted the game could have restarted safely.

The French league put the blame on the host club and local authorities, saying the league did its best to deter violence with sanctions such as point deductions and games played behind closed doors.

Marseille have been the target of violence from supporters before - in a match at Nice in August which was abandoned after fans threw projectiles and invaded the field.

Payet was also hit by a bottle in that game and threw it back at the fans.

There has also been crowd trouble at games hosted by Montpellier, Angers, Marseille and Saint Etienne.

In results on Sunday, Brest earned a third-straight win by stunning second-placed Lens 4-0 to move away from the relegation zone.

Nice benefited from the defeat to Lens to go second as Amine Gouiri's second-half double sealed a comeback 2-1 win at Clermont.

Angers moved to sixth place by edging Lorient 1-0 while eight-placed Strasbourg snatched a 1-1 draw with Reims as substitute Jean-Ricner Bellegarde curled home a free kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Saint-Etienne remained in the relegation zone despite beating Troyes 1-0 and bottom side Metz rallied from a 2-0 deficit to draw 3-3 with Bordeaux.

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