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Referee takes teams off after Marseille firecracker thrown

January 25, 2019
The referee speaks to players as the match is suspended during a French League One soccer match between Olympique Marseille and Lille at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — A firecracker was thrown from the crowd during Marseille’s home game with Lille on Friday, landing near a linesman and forcing the referee to take the players off.

After 56 minutes, and with Marseille 1-0 down, the missile landed near the feet of linesman Nicolas Danos.

Marseille midfielder Kevin Strootman and Marseille left back Jordan Amavi were standing next to him. Strootman grimaced and covered his ears, while Amavi looked shaken.

Referee Amaury Delerue told the players to go back to the dressing room but, in bizarre scenes, the Lille team went off while Marseille stayed on the field for several more minutes.

Finally, the Marseille players also left.

The atmosphere at the Stade Velodrome is notoriously volatile, and there have been increased tensions between fans and players in recent weeks.

After a delay of around 40 minutes, the players came back out to complete the match.

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