Ajax play re-arranged game at relegated FC Groningen behind-closed-doors less than 48 hours after original fixture was ABANDONED following several black smoke bombs thrown onto the pitch and a banner told Groningen’s board to ‘F*** OFF’
- Players forced off after multiple black smoke bombs were thrown onto pitch
- FC Groningen supporters protesting against board after disastrous season
- However, Ajax won the rearranged game on Tuesday 3-2 behind-closed-doors
FC Groningen hosted Ajax on Tuesday in very different settings to their originally abandoned clash on Sunday.
The Dutch duo played behind-closed-doors on Tuesday afternoon due to the actions of FC Groningen’s fans in the initial Eredivisie-scheduled game at the weekend.
And with no raucous home support to get behind them, the already-relegated FC Groningen feel to a 3-2 defeat by Ajax in a five-goal thriller.
The tranquility of the 22,500-seater Euroborg Stadion was in stark contrast to 48 hours beforehand when the match had to be abandoned after just five minutes as supporters of the home side threw black smoke bombs onto the pitch while some fans tried to gain entry to the field of play.
Groningen have endured a disastrous campaign, with their supporters having grown increasingly incensed at the club’s board.
FC Groningen’s game with Ajax was behind-closed-doors on Tuesday following crowd trouble
Ajax won the rearranged match 3-2 after Sunday’s original match lasted just nine minutes
Sunday’s game was abandoned after black smoke bombs were thrown onto the field of play
Just five minutes into their clash with Ajax on Sunday afternoon, multiple black smoke bombs rained down from behind the goal the home side were defending in the first period.
As the players trudged off, as instructed by the referee, a Groningen supporter gained access to the playing area with a banner that was heavily critical of the club’s board.
‘Cancer board, f*** off,’ the banner read.
Groningen are owned by FC Groningen Beheer BV, a company that operates in the Netherlands and owns various sport clubs.
The supporter appeared to evade the clutches of the stewards, weaving in and out of the departing players before being hauled down.
It was announced shortly after that play would be abandoned altogether, with the safety of the players paramount.
‘Groningen – Ajax has been permanently discontinued,’ Ajax tweeted afterwards.
They added: ‘FC Groningen – Ajax has been suspended after 10 minutes of playing due to multiple incidents in which fireworks were thrown onto the pitch. But as always: thank you fans for your unconditional support!’
A Groningen supporter gained access to the pitch and unfurled a banner criticising the board
The recalcitrant supporter was apprehended by stewards after a few brief moments free
Meanwhile, the Ajax club captain Dusan Tadic posted a video onto the club’s social media channels.
He thanked the club’s fans for their continued support, while acknowledging they had made a long trip.
‘Hi fans, thanks very much for your support. We know it is a long trip, of course we want to play, but thank you very much for your [support] in coming here.’
It marks yet further protests against the club’s hierarchy from the Groningen supporters after a diabolical campaign.
Already relegated with five games remaining, fans have grown tired of what they perceive as chronic mismanagement of the club.
Their relegation, which was confirmed last weekend, ends a 23-year stay in the Dutch top flight, within which time they have produced some of Europe’s most notable stars.
The players all seemed relaxed about having to walk off – with the Ajax players having experienced similar not too long ago
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben have all played for the club within the last 15 years.
It marks the second time in just a matter of weeks that Ajax’s players have been forced off the field of play owing to crowd trouble away from home.
In slightly different circumstances away at Feyenoord last month, the players were forced off after Davy Klaassen had his head split open by a missile thrown onto the pitch.
Fierce rivals, that trouble was largely borne out of an intense dislike shared by the two clubs rather than any individual protest as seen at Groningen.
The players were forced off with Ajax leading 2-1, Klaassen himself having notched what proved to be the winning goal on the night. The game was halted for 15 minutes.
Davy Klaassen had his head split open after a missile was thrown from the Feyenoord crowd
Club officials from both sides mutually agreed for the game to continue after talks, with the Feyenoord assistant manager John de Wolf imploring supporters to behave themselves.
‘Fans, at that side, use your brain God damnit! Make sure nothing is being thrown on the pitch again,’ he said.
The game had initially been stopped after just a minute following smoke billowing across pitch, from flares and other pyrotechnics. Once that had cleared, the game got back underway.
Klaassen himself eventually had to go off, telling Dutch media after the game that he felt his ‘head pounding’.
‘When I returned on the pitch I felt my head pounding, I couldn’t keep my focus. But I wanted to try,’ he said.
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