Istanbul derby game suspended after supporters invade field
A total of 76,127 ticketed spectators were present at the game, which descended into chaos after a pitch invasion. AA photo
Yesterday's Beşiktaş-Galatasaray derby was called off by referee Fırat Aydınus with two additional minutes remaining after supporters descended onto the field of Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, forcing both teams to head for the dressing room.
Aydınus then made the decision to suspend the match, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) vice chairman Lütfü Arıboğan told reporters.
A scuffle broke out between supporters and security personnel after Galatasaray’s midfielder, Felipe Melo, received a red card in the 92nd minute. Beşiktaş Coach Slaven Bilic was also sent off just before the incident escalated.
“What’s necessary will be carried out regarding every single person that was detected by security cameras,” Güler said.
There were conflicting reports on the use of pepper spray after the match. Some reports, including daily Hürriyet's, said several security officers used pepper spray to disperse the supporters on the field. These were vehemently rejected in others.
The Lions were leading 2-1 with a brace from their Ivorian star Didier Drogba.
Beşiktaş’s in-form striker, Hugo Almeida, opened the score in the 18th minute, heading in at the back post a pinpoint cross from Serdar Kurtuluş.
The match entered the history annals as the highest-attended top-flight game in Turkish football history.
Beşiktaş shattered the previous highest attendance record of 70,125 in 2003, during a Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe derby at the same stadium, by attracing 76,127 ticketed spectators.
In derby games, supporters of the visiting side are not allowed at the host stadium, due to new TFF regulations.
TFF vice chairman Ufuk Özerten said the federation would now examine both the referee's and observers' reports. “We have to learn that football is a game. When I came here and saw the crowd, I got goosebumps. Let’s turn football into a festival."
Beşiktaş's chairman, Fikret Orman, said he did not want to make an immediate comment, adding that the club would make an official statement following a board meeting tomorrow.