Pitch Invader Attacks Football Player: Video
Daily Mail: Referee sends off Maccabi Tel Aviv star Eran Zahavi after he kicks out at a fan who attacked him as Israeli match is abandoned
· Maccabi Tel Aviv were drawing with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Tel Aviv derby
· Eran Zahavi, a Maccabi player formerly of Hapoel, had scored a penalty
· A fan invaded the pitch to attack Zahavi, player kicks him
· Repeated pitch invasions cause game to be abandoned
· Hapoel coach Eyal Berkovic calls for league to be suspended
By Jonny Singer
An Israeli league match had to be called off on Monday night after a fan broke onto the pitch and attacked an opposing player.
With the score at 1-1 in the Tel Aviv derby, between Hapoel Tel Aviv and their rivals Maccabi, the match was abandoned after a Hapoel fan ran onto the pitch and tried to kick visitors' star Eran Zahavi.
Zahavi, an Israel international, is a controversial figure in the heated derby. The 27-year-old began his career at Hapoel before joining Maccabi after a two-year stay at Palermo.
The Israeli midfielder had scored a penalty, pegging the home side back, and incensing the crowd at Bloomfield stadium.
When the shirtless supported attempted to attack him, Zahavi responded by kicking out at the pitch invader, sparking a brawl between the two teams.
The referee then caused uproar by showing Zahavi a red card, leading to huge protests from the Maccabi players and coaching staff.
Zahavi kicked the fan, sparking a mass confrontation and leading to the player being sent off. As the supporter is led away, players from both sides begin fighting, before the match was abandoned.
The away side threatened to leave the pitch in protest, but were eventually persuaded to continue. However, the game lasted only a further ten minutes, at which point more pitch invaders disrupted play, and the referee was forced to tell the players to leave the pitch.
Former Arsenal and Liverpool star Yossi Benayoun tweeted his outrage, calling the scenes 'shameful'. Benayoun tweeted: 'No shame!! I never saw anything like this in my life.. A scandelous judgement'
Ex-West Ham star Eyal Berkovic, the Hapoel manager, has called for the Israeli league to be suspended in the aftermath.