Bulgarian top flight football was tarnished on Sunday as the match between relegation-threatened Lokomotiv Mezdra and second-placed CSKA Sofia was abandoned due to rioting fans.
Problems in the crowd were allowed the fester unabated due to a lack of police presence at the match. According to reports, there was no police presence inside the stadium because Lokomotiv refused to pay the security taxes.
Yet undoubtedly the catalyst of the trouble occurred when Lokomotiv scored to level the match 1-all, in which home striker Ismail Isa also needed to shoulder some of the blame for causing the riots to spiral out of control.
After heading the hosts level in the 62nd minute, the former Levski Sofia centre-forward appeared to intentional rial the visiting CSKA supporters by running towards them with a finger over his mouth in an antagonistic “shooshing” manner. Unhappy with Isa’s goal celebration, the CSKA fans quickly hit back as the ultras began throwing stones before the inevitable full-blown violent pitch invasion unfolded.
With just a handful on stewards on the scene the match referee had little choice to but to call the match off.
Footage of the drama can be seen here.