Fans stop Australian A-League match with violent invasion, goalie attack

An Australian A-League soccer match between local rivals Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory ended abruptly on Saturday after Victory fans stormed the field and attacked City goalkeeper Tom Glover.

Fans ignited flares and small fireworks throughout the game, especially in the 11th minute to celebrate an opening goal from City midfielder Aiden O’Neill.

In the 20th minute, chaos ensued when Glover threw a flare that landed near him off the field and back to Victory fans.

The violent scene unfolded as Victory fans stormed the field and Glover was hit in the head by a metal bucket filled with sand reportedly meant to extinguish the flares hurled in his direction. Teammates rushed him from the pitch as blood was seen falling from the side of his head.

City officials said that Glover needed stitches and had a suspected concussion after the incident.

Referee Alex King also sustained a bleeding head injury from the thrown bucket and an unnamed referee coach was pushed into the fence.

Victoria Police estimated that 150–200 Victory supporters stormed the field, per ESPN.

After a long delay, the match was abandoned for player safety, a first in A-League history.

Victory issued a statement on Saturday, condemning fans’ actions and apologizing. “This conduct will not be tolerated and the Club, along with AAMI Park and Victoria Police, will undertake a full investigation into the incident,” the statement read.

“Melbourne Victory would like to reiterate there is no place in football for what was witnessed tonight.”

Melbourne Victory issued a formal apology after a rival goalkeeper was left with a concussion and needed stitches. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

A protest turned violent

City and Victory fans were both seen throwing flares as they left the stadium, with one appearing to hit a camera operator for broadcaster Network Ten.

The exits were part of an ongoing walkout demonstration in protest of the Australian Professional League’s (APL) decision to sell hosting rights of the leagues’ men’s and women’s grand finals to Sydney for the next three years.

Fans on Twitter cited previous demonstrations where fans walked out of multiple matches peacefully and even left signs with messages like “Fans > Money.”

Rosengård goalie Teagan Micah reacted to the Melbourne Derby violence on Twitter and cited her own experience with Victory fans.

“Fans throwing GLASS BOTTLES at us and all I got was an ‘apology’ and notice that the fans were ALREADY BANNED FOR LIFE & STILL GOT IN WITH GLASS BOTTLES,” she wrote. “Melbourne Victory continues to ALLOW their fans to get away with this behavior! It’s a disgrace!!”

She sent love to Glover and City, adding that “players should feel SAFE to come and play.”

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