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Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi sent off for attacking fan after pitch invasion

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The derby game between Hapoel and Maccabi had to be abandoned at half-time after a fan ran onto the pitch to attack a player, who was subsequently sent off for retaliating. 

Maccabi midfielder Eran Zahavi was confronted by a bare-chested supporter and the par proceeded to exchange blows before security forces stepped in to separate them. It was when Zhavi was dismissed that his own supporters reacted, storming the pitch and forcing the game to be abandoned. 

War

Israel's sports minister described the events as "shameful", while Maccabi boss Eyal Berkovic, who played for Southampton, West Ham, Celtic, and Manchester City amongst others described it as a "war".

"This was not a game of football, it was war," he said. "I'm stunned and ashamed to be involved in football on a day like today. Both clubs and both sets of supporters must be severely punished."

Abandoned

The game was tied at 1-1 when it was abandoned, and it was after Zahavi had levelled things up from the penalty spot that tempers started to flare. The referee took the controversial decision to send the player off, having seen him goad rival fans shortly before he equalised.

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According to Tel Aviv Police 10 supporters were arrested during the game, with more expected to be picked up once video footage had ben analysed. 

Maccabi chief Martin Bain said he would ensure that action was taken against the perpetrators. "This club will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, will not tolerate violence," he said.

"We came here as the away team and expected the safety of our players to be paramount. We cannot accept a player being attacked on the field of play and will certainly make representations." 

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