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Ref stops Serie A match after Italy international Candreva has near miss with exploding flare

Tensions boiled over between Lazio and Palermo fans this evening.

Source: new day new video/YouTube

LAZIO AND ITALY midfielder Antonio Candreva narrowly escaped stepping on an exploding flare as angry Palermo fans vented their frustration in a trouble-hit Serie A fixture that was halted twice by the referee on Sunday.

Sicilian side Palermo are battling to beat relegation to Italy’s second division and tensions had already boiled over prior to the fixture when rival fans clashed outside the stadium.

According to a report on Gazzetta dello Sport’s website, several Palermo fans stabbed a Lazio fan as he sat in a bar.

The incident sparked a mass brawl, with police called in to stop fans throwing missiles and flares at each other before arresting five local men.

Lazio took a 2-0 lead by the 15th minute of the game thanks to a double from German veteran striker Miroslav Klose.

With Palermo struggling, it all got too much for the team’s hardline ultras.

They began lighting and throwing flares on to the pitch, with firecrackers setting explosions echoing throughout the stadium and prompting referee Andrea Gervasoni to halt the game for two minutes in the 24th minute.

In Italy, referees have the power to halt matches to allow stewards to restore order, and stop them altogether in extreme circumstances.

When flares began to land on the pitch again after the interval, one exploding metres away from Candreva as he chased a ball deep in Palermo territory in the 14th minute of the second half, Gervasoni stopped the match again.

Discussions were held with officials and players pitchside, before the proceedings resumed five minutes later.

Lazio sacked coach Stefano Pioli last week and appointed Simone Inzaghi, the brother of former AC Milan striker and coach Filippo Inzaghi.

- © AFP, 2016

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