BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The ugly side of Spanish soccer’s most heated city rivalry ruined an enthralling clash between Real Betis and Sevilla on Saturday after a player was hit in the head by an object thrown from the stands.
The Copa del Rey match at Betis' Benito Villamarín Stadium was suspended in the 39th minute with the score 1-1 after an oblong piece of PVC hurled from the stands hit Sevilla player Joan Jordán in the head.
The object impacted Jordán while Betis was celebrating Nabil Fekir’s equalizer that canceled out Papu Gómez’s opener.
Jordán went down immediately, holding his head. He was quickly back on his feet but was helped to walk off the pitch just before the teams were ordered by the referee Ricardo de Burgos to follow. Local media reports said the midfielder was taken to a local hospital for a medical check.
De Burgos wrote in his referee report that the object was a “hollow 50-centimeter (20-inch) PVC bar” thrown from a zone filled with Betis fans.
After a wait of over 20 minutes, the game was officially suspended by the Spanish soccer federation. The federation said “it condemns all acts of violence on the playing field.”
While that decision was being made, police officers were seen in the area of the stands where the object apparently came from.
It was too soon for a new date to continue the match, which could be restarted without a crowd.
The Seville derby is notorious for being Spain’s most fiercely contested crosstown rivalry. In 2007, Sevilla coach Juande Ramos was knocked unconscious when he was hit in the head by a bottle thrown by a Betis fan.
Fekir set the tone just seconds after kickoff when he stomped on the foot of Gómez, earning the Betis forward a booking.
But the incident that hurt Jordán tarnished a vibrant contest. Betis dominated the opening phase, only for Gómez to drill in a shot from the edge of the area to give the visitors the lead in the 35th.
Fekir responded with an incredible goal directly from a corner kick, bending a powerful strike from the corner flag over the head of goalkeeper Alfonso Pastor, who got on the ball but could not keep it out.
Neither club commented immediately on the incident.
And even condemnation of the act by a Betis player included an accusation that Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui had tried to urge Jordán to go down.
“Shameful and unjustifiable act by someone who does not represent our fans,” Betis substitute Víctor Camarasa said on Twitter. “I hope that Joan Jordán is okay, but we all heard (even the assistant referee) his coach tell him to ‘be dizzy and drop to the ground.’
“I am not saying that Joan is pretending or exaggerating, I am only explaining what was heard on the field.”
In other round-of-16 games, Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano, and Cádiz all advanced.
Japan forward Takefusa Kubo scored from a free kick to help Mallorca beat Espanyol 2-1.
Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, saved a penalty to ensure Rayo Vallecano won at Girona 2-1.
Cádiz also moved on after getting past second-tier side Sporting Gijón in a penalty shootout following a scoreless match.
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