Israeli football players were chased from a Bulgarian pitch after being bottled and attacked by fans during a match on Sunday.
Dramatic footage showed the frightening moment when supporters of CSKA Sofia charged onto the pitch armed with makeshift weapons and chased after players from Ashdod, some of whom were left with light injuries.
The flare-up occurred after an Israeli player launched a wild challenge against one of the home team’s midfielders, which earned the Israeli a red card.
As CSKA players rounded on the offender, a camera captured incensed fans piling out of the stands and onto the pitch, with bottles raining down on the Israeli team from the terraces.
CSKA players and officials sought to stop the stampede, as most Israeli players took flight to a vacant stand opposite. Ashdod players who stayed on the pitch to calm tensions were hit with fists and bottles. Others ran up the opposite stand’s stairway and out of the ground.
Tension had been increasing throughout the ill-tempered match, and after the players were chased from the pitch, Israeli coaching staff were targeted in the dugout, with fans smashing against protective barriers, hurling abuse.
Despite being the most successful team in Bulgarian history, CSKA Sofia was relegated to the country’s third division for financial reasons, and has suffered from hooliganism from a section of fans known as “ultras”.