A soccer match in Argentina turned to mayhem Wednesday night, when disgruntled fans threw explosive devices onto the field, forcing officials to suspend play after the end of the first half.
The incident occurred during a first-division matchup between Belgrano and Independiente, with the visiting Belgrano leading 1-0. According to the Associated Press, the explosives appeared to come from Independiente's fan section in the Buenos Aires stadium, causing referee Saul Laverni to decide that it was ''impossible to continue'' without the threat of injuries.
As shown in the video above, the explosives were live and thrown very close to the players. Larry Brown Sports points out that one of the explosions occurred less than 10 feet from Belgrano goalkeeper Juan Carlos Olave, who is seen taking cover with his hands over his ears after the device went off. No injuries were immediately reported, according to AP.
Unfortunately, this is only the latest incident in a disturbing trend of fans throwing explosives during soccer matches. In October, Omonia Nicosia fans threw a firecracker that exploded just inches away from an opposing player. Just a month earlier, a midfielder in an Asian Champions League quarterfinal match picked up an object thrown onto the pitch and tossed it off just before it exploded.
Argentina is especially known for its unruly fans, as detailed in a New York Times piece from last year examining the connection between the spike in street crime and soccer violence, which has accelerated throughout the past 20 years due to the rise of hooligan fan groups known as barra bravas.
"We don’t feel safe inside of our stadiums in Argentina," Monica Nizzardo, president of the anti-soccer violence NGO Let’s Save Football, told the Times in 2011. "That is why families have stopped going."