Celta Vigo earned an impressive 2-0 victory at Villarreal on Saturday, but the match was unfortunately marred by a smoke bomb being thrown onto the pitch, forcing a 20-minute delay.
According to the Associated Press, via FOXSports.com, the canister, which was billowing smoke and was tossed onto the El Madrigal Stadium pitch four minutes after Fabian Orellana put Celta ahead in the 83rd minute, had effects similar to tear gas.
Fans were forced to evacuate toward the exit, while players reportedly suffered irritated eyesight. Everyone was eventually cleared from the pitch, and after about 20 minutes, play resumed and Nolito scored off a free kick to double Celta's lead in the 90th minute.
101 Great Goals on Twitter gave a snapshot of the scene:
Here's footage of the incident:
Following the match, Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano was clearly upset with the actions of one of the home fans, via the AP report:
''I don't know who it was, but these things can't happen in our house. I hope the person is found.''
Villarreall chairman Fernando Roig Alfonso issued a statement following the match, courtesy of ESPN's Dermot Corrigan:
Villarreal pres Roig "Villarreal absolutely condemns this behavour. Convinced it was someone who wanted to harm the club."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 15, 2014
Villarreal pres Roig "We have all suffered the consequences of this, it was obviously planned. Came from area with our quietest fans."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 15, 2014
Villarreal pres Roig "It is someone who wanted to do bad for badness sake. We thank security forces & apologise for what has happened."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 15, 2014
This comes on the heels of another fan incident in Spain. Earlier this week during a Copa del Rey semifinal match at Atletico Madrid's Estadio Vicente Calderon, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was hit with a lighter thrown by a fan at halftime.
According to BBC, Atletico Madrid was fined £492 for the incident.
Whether or not Villarreal is hit with a similar fine isn't really what's important here. Instead, as play continues to heat up in La Liga (Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are separated by just three points at the top of the league, while the race for the fourth spot is also tightly contested) and matches become more intense, it will be crucial that security is made more stringent in the future.
We can only hope that this is the worst fan-related incident we see on the pitch this season.