Video: Lens vs. Lille Ligue 1 Match Halted After On-Field Confrontation Between Fans

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 18, 2021

Lens' supporters invade the pitch during the French L1 football match between RC Lens (RCL) and Lille (LOSC) at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, northern France, on September 18, 2021. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP) (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

Halftime is typically devoid of any on-field action, but that wasn't the case during Lens and Lille's Ligue 1 fixture Saturday.

A group of Lens supporters ran onto the pitch to confront the Lille away section after the first half concluded.

Sam Street @samstreetwrites

More carnage from Ligue 1 as the derby between Lens vs Lille is suspended with the two sets of fans having a punch-up on the pitch.<a href="https://t.co/ULxYjiaYDW">pic.twitter.com/ULxYjiaYDW</a>

B/R Football @brfootball

Lens fans stormed the pitch to confront Lille fans at halftime of their Ligue 1 match. <br><br>The game resumed after they were separated by police 😳 <a href="https://t.co/zsO4iSZ2gV">pic.twitter.com/zsO4iSZ2gV</a>

The second half kicked off after a short delay once the situation calmed down.

French soccer writer Robin Bairner provided some insight into what may have sparked the confrontation:

Robin Bairner @RBairner

The prelude to the pitch invasion by Lens fans...<br><br>Lille supporters appear to be throwing seats at the home fans. <a href="https://t.co/oiWD7pjvBS">https://t.co/oiWD7pjvBS</a>

This is the second major fan-related incident in France this season. 

OGC Nice supporters threw a bottle at Marseille star Dimitri Payet during a match in August. Payet threw the bottle back into the crowd, which led to a group of fans storming the pitch to confront the Marseille players.


💥 THIS IS MADNESS! 🤯 THE FANS INVADED THE PITCH! 😰<br><br>Nice fans ran on to the pitch during the OGC Nice-Marseille match.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OGCNOM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OGCNOM</a> <a href="https://t.co/BKGxprGN53">pic.twitter.com/BKGxprGN53</a>

The match was abandoned in the 75th minute, and French football's governing body (LFP) ordered the two clubs to replay the fixture at a neutral location behind closed doors.

Due to their close proximity, meetings between Lens and Lille can be testy affairs. The Derby du Nord is among the regional rivalries in French soccer.

The derby had been idle for a few years prior to Lens' promotion ahead of the 2020-21 season. More than five years had passed since they faced off in October 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic meant their respective stadiums were empty for the two league clashes.