In what should of been a day of the fans coming together and an opportunity to send a message following the controversial decision to move the grand final to Sydney, the game ended in shame.
With both sides starting the contest a 100 miles an hour with the crowd at a fever pitch, City broke the deadlock and landed an early blow. Aiden O’Neill went on a dangerous run, finishing with a powerful shot from close range, with Victory shot-stopper Paul Izzo able to do very little to deny the opener.
An action packed opening on the pitch, there was plenty going on in the stands with both sets of active supporters from the Victory and City camp letting their feelings known about the APL’s decision with the various chants and tifos in the APL’s direction.
At the minute mark of a prepared walk out, tempers reach boiling point. Thomas Glover threw a flare behind the goals in the direction of the Victory active area, with fans storming the pitch feeling as if they’ve been provoked.
Storming in large numbers, Thomas Glover was attacked coming off the ground bleeding, with the players heading into the tunnel, suspending play. The game ultimately would be called off in what proved to be one of the most despicable fan acts in Australian sporting history.
Scenes turn ugly
With both sets of active fans set to walk out 20 minutes into the game in protest to the APL’s decision for Sydney to be the host city of the competition’s grand final the next three years, the fans would be walking out early, but instead of solidarity, it was anything put a proud exit.
With chants, tifos and flares present with both sets of fans, despite being fierce rivals, there was a sense of respect amongst the two sets of fans, wanting to take a stand for a common cause. With play having to be momentarily stopped in the early stages of the game, it would prove to be a bad omen of things to follow.
After flares landed inside City’s box, their shot-stopper Tom Glover would throw one back behind the goals, getting close to the Victory fans. With tensions high, the fans stormed the field, and what followed was indefensible. With Glover attacked by the City faithful, fans stormed the ground with buckets and other objects getting thrown, resulting in the players being forced to head back to the dressing rooms, with Glover leaving the ground bleeding from the head.
Stopping play for 40 minutes, the game eventually would be called due to safety concerns, with Thomas Glover requiring medical attention as per Melbourne City officials. Alex King the referee was also injured when trying to hold the fans away from the players.
With football fans having garnered criticism for their behaviour at games, with some of it being unfair in the past, there was no defending the actions of what occurred tonight.
With the game expected to ride a wave of momentum in the wake of the Socceroos successful campaign, this terrible incident looks to be a backward step in the sport’s popularity.
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