Thursday July 24 2014

Pro-Palestinian protesters invade pitch, attack Maccabi Haifa players

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo 

By Daily Mail

Maccabi Haifa's pre-season game against Lille in Austria was stopped when pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the pitch.

With Lille winning 2-0, supporters of reportedly Turkish origin entered the pitch and headed for the Maccabi players, including captain Yossi Benayoun, formerly of Chelsea, Liverpool and QPR.

The Maccabi stars - some of whom retaliated - managed to leave the field unhurt.

Maccabi coach Aleksandar Stanojevic was said to have punched a protester.
The referee was forced to stop the game in the 86th minute before eventually bringing the game to an end early.

Banners calling for the liberation of Palestine were also displayed by certain sections of the crowd.

Israel is currently engaged in hostilities with Hamas, a militant group that runs the Gaza Strip.

Before the ugly scenes, Lille had been ahead thanks to goals from Ryan Mendes and Simon Kjaer.

Last month UEFA announced that Israeli clubs could not host European matches due to the 'unrest' in Israel.