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GOALIE BLITZ; Fans throw flares on to pitch as Milan clash ends in chaos.

Byline: By Craig McDonald

THIS is the shocking moment when a goalkeeper was struck by a flare during last night's televised Champions League derby.

AC Milan keeper Dida was hit hard on the shoulder by one of dozens of flares thrown from the stands by Inter Milan fans.

As he cowered in terror, in shock and suffering from first-degree burns, the barrage of flares, fireworks, bottles and and missiles continued to rain down.

The quarter final of the showpiece competition was suspended while he received treatment for burns injuries in the middle of the pitch.

It briefly restarted before it had to be abandoned as more bottles and incendiary flares were thrown on the pitch from a section of Inter fans.

Referee Markus Merk called off the game was called off in the 73rd minute with AC Milan leading 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregateFootball governing body UEFA awarded the tie to AC Milan on a night of shame that was broadcast to TV viewers across the world.

UEFA were last night expected to launch a probe into the ugly scenes as Italian ministers called for a summit on an explosion of violence at recent matches across the country.

Authorities in Turin are gearing themselves for possible trouble at tonight's Champions League tie between Liverpool and Juventus.

It is 20 years since the Heysel tragedy, in which 39 Italian football fans were killed during a European Cup final between the two sides, and football hooliganism is now in the headlines in Italy.

Last night's trouble began after Inter fans saw Esteban Cambiasso's 'goal' ruled out for a foul, with their team trailing 1-0.

The game was suspended with 17 minutes of play remaining as the crowd reacted violently to the referee's decision.

When play resumed, more missiles were fired on to the pitch by irate Inter fans, forcing the tie to be abandoned in less than a minute.

When the smoke from fiercely burning flares began to clear, the pitch was seen to be littered with bottles and other missiles thrown from the stands.

Inter can expect severe sanctions over last night's disgrace, which was the worst of recent crowd trouble.

Yesterday, Italian sides Lazio and Ternana were fined after one of the worst weekends of football violence in Italy this season.

Lazio received a pounds 25,000 fine and an official warning after their fans chanted fascist slogans and waved neo-Nazi banners during a match against rival Livorno. Second division Ternana were hit with a similar fine, following their derby against Perugia, during which objects were thrown at opposing fans and police.

Scores of fans were arrested throughout Italy over the weekend.

Interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu last night called for an urgent meeting to tackle the crisis.

He added that stadiums could be shut down if fan violence continued.

In March, former Celtic star Paolo Di Canio was fined pounds 7000 after a fascist-style salute to fans during a match between his side Lazio and Roma in January


HORRIFIC: AC Milan goalkeeper suffered first-degree burns after being struck by a flare thrown by out-of-control fans during the Champions League game; BOMBARDED: AC's Costa waits patiently as flares land after being thrown by Inter fans at the San Siro stadium
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 13, 2005
Previous Article:Let's play political football.

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