Istanbul derby match between Galatasaray and Besiktas ends in violence
Galatasaray leading 2-1 when the match was abandoned in stoppage time
Fans hurled objects, including chairs, during clashes with riot police
Violent scenes began following a red card for Galatasaray's Felipe Melo
A derby match between Besiktas and Galatasaray in the Turkish city of Istanbul was abandoned on Sunday as one of Europe’s most fiercely contested football rivalries descended into violence and chaos.
Hundreds of fans invaded the pitch, throwing chairs and clashing with security personnel and riot police at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, where a crowd in excess of 76,000 had gathered.
A red card for Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo in the 92nd minute was the catalyst for the scenes of havoc after Ivorian striker Didier Drogba had scored twice to give the visitors a 2-1 lead over Besiktas.
Defeat would have been the first of the season for league leaders Besiktas.
Reports suggest the violence was sparked by clashes between riot police and Besiktas supporters.
“The Eagles’ Turkish Super League game against Galatasaray at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium was suspended by the referee in injury time,” read a statement on Besiktas’ official website.
“Besiktas JK Executive Board will soon make an announcement on the subject.”
A similar statement on Galatasaray’s website added, “how the proceedings will continue will be announced later by the Turkey Football Federation (TFF).”
In recent years Turkish football has also had to deal with the scourge of match-fixing.
Fenerbahce, another Istanbul-based team, were banned from European football for two years for manipulating the results of matches en route to the 2011 Turkish Super Lig title.
Violent clashes in Istanbul have been a common sight in the past six months.
Anti-government protests swept through the city’s streets in June and July, with tear gas and water cannons used by the police to halt demonstrators.
The TFF was not immediately available for comment.