PARIS: Romanian side Universitatea Craiova advanced to the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday (Friday in Manila) despite their fans causing their clash with Honved to be suspended by striking the referee with an object thrown from the stands.
The goalless tie was heading into extra time in Craiova when a brawl broke out between both sets of players, during which a smoke bomb landed and detonated near Northern Irish match official Arnold Hunter.
Images from Romanian broadcaster Digisport appear to show Hunter being hit by something thrown from the crowd, after which the match was suspended for over half an hour as the 39-year-old was treated and then left the field amid confusion over the outcome of the match.
Eventually the fourth official restarted play with just one minute of extra-time to play, and with the match finishing with no scorers, Craiova came out on top 3-1 in the penalty shootout.
However reports from Romania suggest that the match was only finished because local police couldn’t guarantee the safety of officials and Honved players in the event of the match being called off.
Elsewhere Wolverhampton Wanderers strolled through to the next round with a 4-1 win at Crusaders to continue to their first European campaign for 39 years with a 6-1 aggregate win over the Northern Irish side.
Torino made the most of AC Milan’s ban from Europe by comfortably seeing off Debrecen 4-1 to inch closer to the group stage.
Walter Mazzarri’s side still have to navigate two more qualifying rounds after beating the Hungarians 7-1 on aggregate thanks to goals on the night from Simone Zaza, Armando Izzo, Andrea Belotti and substitute Vincenzo Millico.
Torino, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, are in the competition after AC Milan accepted in June a voluntary ban from European football for the coming season over breaches of financial fair play rules.
Roma took Milan’s place in the group stage, which starts later this month.
Rangers made it through with a goalless draw at Niedercorn that saw them win 2-0 on aggregate.