An investigation has been launched into the violence that surrounded Sunday's French Ligue 1 match between Nice and Saint-Etienne, the public prosecutor in Nice said Monday. Eight people were hurt after fans from the two sides tore up seats inside the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice and hurled them at each other.
Saint-Etienne's fans, who had earlier seen the bus carrying them to the ground come under fire from a barrage of stones thrown by rival Nice supporters, had to be surrounded by police and evacuated from the stadium before the game began.
According to a source close to the investigation, the French interior ministry may even discuss the matter.
Some 200 seats were torn up and used as missiles, Nice's head of security Andre Bloch said Sunday night. Nice's public prosecutor Eric Bedos said that an investigation was underway, although he didn't give any more details.
Nice's deputy mayor Christian Estrosi blamed Saint-Etienne's fans and condemned their "attitude and the acts of vandalism that dishonored football and even sporting values." He added that "all the elements at our disposal show that the Saint-Etienne fans behaved like hooligans."
Saint-Etienne official Roland Romeyer did not point his finger at either set of fans but told RTL radio station: "It's clear that these are not normal people, they're not people who had the education that I had from the point of view of respect and human values."
In case you have never heard of him Kurt Zouma is a central defender for French Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne, and is almost certain to depart the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard during the January transfer window. He is such a bright prospect that the current manager of the French national team Didier Deschamps has called Zouma a future captain of the French national side.
Liverpool had been tracking the 19-year-old during the summer, but will almost certainly have lost interest following their signing of Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori. The front runners to sign him currently are Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City who has had their defensive woes so far this season compounded by the thigh injury to team captain Vincent Kompany.
Paris Saint-Germain will face holders Saint-Etienne in the last 16 of France's League Cup after the draw was made on Thursday.
Saint-Etienne beat PSG on penalties in the quarter-finals of last season's competition on the way to winning the competition and ending a 32-year trophy drought.
Among the other ties, Marseille, who won the trophy in three consecutive campaigns before last season, were drawn at home to Toulouse and Reims' reward for eliminating Monaco in the last round is a trip to Lyon.
French League Cup last 16 draw (ties to be played December 17/18)
These are all the matchups:
Lyon vs Reims
Nantes vs Auxerre
Paris Saint-Germain vs Saint-Etienne
Troyes vs Tours
Marseille vs Toulouse
Evian-Thonon-Gaillard vs Bastia
Nice vs Sochaux
Rennes vs Bordeaux
Paris Saint-Germain were 60 seconds from their first defeat of the season on Sunday before a desperate equaliser from Blaise Matuidi salvaged a 2-2 draw at Saint-Etienne and kept them top of Ligue 1.
In a match full of drama and controversy, Saint-Etienne threw away a 2-0 second half lead albeit hindered by a red card which allowed Laurent Blanc's men back in the match. The point allowed PSG to cling to top spot as they lead Monaco on goal difference after Claudio Ranieri's side defeated Lyon 2-1 earlier in the day.
"It was a difficult evening for Paris and an intense match but I enjoyed myself regardless," said Blanc.
"PSG have to understand that we are going to come up against very good, organised teams and we were in a great stadium tonight.
"We gave them two goals which were terrible defensive mistakes and we were punished. "I thought we were average and Saint-Etienne fully deserved at least a point." added the former France and Bordeaux handler.
Midfielder Benjamin Corgnet opened the scoring after just 18 minutes when he took advantage of a missed clearance from Brazilian center-back Marquinhos to crash the ball past a static Salvatore Sirigu in the PSG goal.
The visitors failed to convert their possession dominance as they chased an equalizer and fell further behind in comical circumstances six minutes after the break.
Sirigu came out of his goal to collect a cross but tangled with his own defender Alex which allowed Romain Hamouma to clip the ball into an empty goal. It was the first time since last March that PSG had conceded two goals in a league match- ironically against the same opposition.
But the turning point occurred on 59 minutes when Fabien Lemoine tangled with Ezequiel Lavezzi who elbowed him in the face leaving him covered in blood. Referee Ruddy Buquet saw the incident differently and sent off the furious Frenchman who may have been dismissed for dissent in the heat of the moment. The red card swung the momentum in favor of Blanc's men and when Edinson Cavani stabbed the ball home from close range after a good pass from Brazilian defender Maxwell, the comeback was half completed.
Stubborn defending from Saint-Etienne and some rousing support almost inspired Christophe Galtier's League Cup holders to victory. But with seconds remaining a looping ball into the penalty area from Matuidi eluded Saint-Etienne 'keeper Stephane Ruffier and bounced into the net.
Monaco went three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday after a late Lucas Ocampos winner gave them a priceless 2-1 victory over Saint-Etienne at the Louis II stadium.
Substitute Ocampos was the hero for Claudio Ranieri's Cote d'Azur outfit, when he latched onto a low cross from the right and pounced inside a crowded penalty box to shoot past Stephane Rufier with just three minutes remaining.
The win keeps Monaco unbeaten with six victories from nine matches and lifts them three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain who travel to arch rivals Marseille on Sunday.
"We're very happy, we played well, created chances against a very strong Saint-Etienne team," said Monaco captain Eric Abidal.
"We had to find a way to open up the match which we did by changing the system and it came down to mental strength at the end. Everyone's happy," continued the French defender.
Belgian international Yannick Ferreira Carrasco gave the Ligue 2 champions the lead after 15 minutes with a cool finish after a 30 yard pass from James Rodríguez put him behind the back four before the visitors equalized just inside the second half.
Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier could be heard blasting his players at half-time and his motivational talk initially did the trick.
A good move down the left wing allowed Renaud Cohade to feed fellow Frenchman Romain Hamouma with a long pass which the 26-year-old midfielder controlled perfectly, before sliding the ball past Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Saint-Etienne had a golden chance to take the lead in the dying moments when Ivory Coast and former Leeds winger Max Gradel was alone through on goal but Subasic came to their rescue with a fine stop from close range.
The match appeared heading for a draw before the Ocampos winner lifted home fans and kept the pressure on Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, the latter side being four points back ahead of the Velodrome showdown.