Violence rocks Sakhnin stadium after draw with Betar

Following the highly anticipated Premier League match, stones were thrown and fights broke out between the rival camps.

soccer riot 88 (photo credit: )
soccer riot 88
(photo credit: )
A goalless draw between Bnei Sakhnin and Betar Jerusalem was overshadowed by the events afterwards as hundreds of police and stadium ushers were unable to prevent a violent aftermath Sunday night. Following the highly anticipated Premier League fixture at Doha Stadium in Sakhnin, stones were thrown and fights broke out between the rival camps. Police had to escort Sakhnin star Abas Suan through the raucous crowd after he appeared on television. Outside the stadium, Betar owner Arkadi Gaydamak's car was vandalized. A photographer was also injured as a result of the mayhem. In the match itself, a relatively eventful first half was followed by am uninspired second period as the players seemed to tire and were unable to carve out any respectable opportunities. The draw meant Betar lost distance on rival Hapoel Tel Aviv and remained in third place, while Sakhnin fans will be celebrating after moving out of the relegation zone into 10th place. New Betar signing Jerome Leroy made his first appearance, but apart from a few nice touches and passes, the former Lens captain did not make an immediate impact Betar fans had hoped for. It was left to Israeli Omri Afek to take control of the Betar midfield. For Sakhnin, Ahmed Kassoum and Suan both had their influence on the game but the midfield of both teams proved to be ineffective over and over again as passes were sent astray. In the 15th minute, Leroy floated a beautiful through pass to Afek, whose header was saved by 'keeper Meir Cohen. This proved to be Leroy's finest moment of the match as he seemed to be taking his time to adjust to Israeli soccer. Sakhnin, for its part, was also unable to create many chances. What appeared to be handball by Jerusalem right back Tomer Haliva in the Sakhnin area in the 28th minute was waved off by the referee. The game had threatened to erupt four minutes earlier when Jeff Tutuana fouled Suan, who got up and faced off to the Congolese striker. The second half saw few opportunities despite the introduction of attacking players. There were few clearcut chances, as both sides gave the ball away in midfield. Following the final whistle, though, the pitch became a dangerous place.