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Confusion as Rome derby called off

Players gather in the center of the pitch shortly before the game is abandoned.

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ROME, Italy -- The Rome derby between Lazio and AS Roma in Serie A was abandoned shortly after the start of the second half on Sunday amid scenes of confusion.

With the score 0-0, the game was halted for "public order reasons" after a rumor spread among the crowd that a young fan had been killed by a police car outside the ground.

Players and officials had gathered in the middle of the pitch after flares had been thrown from the crowd.

Talks continued for about 15 minutes and the referee Roberto Rosetti was then seen to walk off the pitch as the game was declared abandoned.

The match was four minutes into the second half when a fan walked on to the pitch behind the Roma goal to interrupt the match with the report of the child's death.

The police department of Rome quickly denied the rumor - the denial was heard on the Olympic Stadium loudspeakers - but the decision to abandon the match was still taken.

Italian Football League president Adriano Galliani told ANSA news agency that he had ordered the referee to call off the game.

"I took the decision because I was convinced that it was impossible to play," said Galliani.

"I spoke to many people who were on the pitch and I chose the least worst solution," he said.

When supporters left the stadium there were violent clashes with the police in the surrounding area.

Fans threw flares and bottles at police who responded with tear gas during fierce clashes.

There were also reports of clashes outside the stadium before the game.

Roma, currently second in Serie A on 57 points, were trying to close the 10-point gap with leaders AC Milan.

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