CSKA Sofia coaches hit by firework, stones

bulgarian-league2017BULGARIA: Three members of CSKA Sofia’s coaching staff were hit after fans hurled firecrackers and stones during their 3-0 win over bitter city rivals Levski in the Bulgarian league on Saturday.

Assistant coach Stefan Genov, their German fitness coach, Thomas Neubert, and another assistant, Kiril Dinchev, were all hit when Levski supporters began throwing missiles at the CSKA bench after Brazilian striker Fernando Karanga scored the third goal in the 53rd minute.

Part of a firecracker struck Genov close to his eye, but he told reporters he was fine. “Thomas was injured after he was hit by a stone and Kiril Dinchev was also hit by a stone,” he said after the Balkan country’s most explosive derby fixture.

Dinchev said that Neubert’s hearing was temporarily damaged in the incidents during the ill-tempered affair, which featured seven yellow and two red cards.

The eternal derby, as clashes between the two most popular clubs in Bulgaria are known, has a long history of crowd violence.

A 30-year-old man was killed by a bomb in 2000 and hooliganism and arrests have been rife in the past. In 2014 CSKA coach Stoycho Mladenov was knocked unconscious by a snowball thrown from Levski fans.

On Saturday CSKA enjoyed a flying start, scoring twice in the first six minutes through Portuguese midfielder Arsenio and winger Kiril Despodov. Karanga’s header in the second half put the issue beyond doubt.

The 3-0 win allowed CSKA to leapfrog Levski into second place. The two teams, however, are 13 points behind leaders Ludogorets, who also have a game in hand.