Clermont Foot’s Mory Diaw was stretchered off with his team 4-2 down away at Montpellier HSC in Ligue 1 after a firecracker was thrown by home supporters. The projectile landed at the goalkeeper’s feet and exploded which led to officials taking both teams off the field at Stade de la Mosson and the decision was later taken to not finish the game.
“I feel disgust, disillusionment, and a lot of sadness,” said Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin in a postgame press conference. “It is a feeling of disgust that some idiot throws something from the stands at a certain point which becomes unbearable and surreal. I hope that Clermont’s goalkeeper is okay — I have not seen the footage, but I hope that he can return with his teammates.
“It is not for lack of warning about fireworks or firecrackers, but they (the fans) do not care. When you invest yourself and try to do your best and this is how it ends up … We are projecting an image of a club that is not ours — it is deplorable. There is a lot of disgust for the players, the staff, and Clermont. It is disrespectful towards the people that we are trying to welcome.”
Hosts Montpellier were 4-2 ahead with minutes of added time left to play when the incident occurred which saw Diaw fall to the ground after the explosion with medical staff rushing on to reach him. The 30-year-old shot stopper was surrounded by teammates including substitute Neto Borges who saw red for showing his middle finger to Montpellier fans in response to the incident.
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“I am not a doctor and it is not for me to judge,” said Nicollin of whether or not the game could have been finished. “The game is sacred, and we should not throw things from the stands at anyone. It is not for me to explain that — it is just about respect. I was told that the firecracker landed 1.5 meters away from the goalkeeper, whether it is strong or not strong, there are consequences. You should not throw something at a player. We are educated, raised, and we are not here to throw things at people.”
Security identified the supporter who threw the projectile at Diaw while referee Florent Batta decided to definitively end the game after Clermont’s team doctor confirmed that the France-born Senegal international was in no fit state to end the encounter, according to Le Parisien. Diaw helped Clermont to an unexpected eighth placed finish in Ligue 1 last season and the Paris Saint-Germain youth product kept a clean sheet in a shutout against PSG last week.
“We are often criticized for not having ambitions, but with idiots like this, we will not have any ambition,” added Nicollin. “It is painful and exhausting. I think of my coach and my players who put on a great performance with ten men, and the result was there. The league will surely summon us. We will be summoned by the disciplinary committee, and they will tell us what to do.
“My only regret is that we could have been sixth or seventh tonight with Clermont ten points behind us. We might have to play in Nantes while being in the relegation zone when we could have potentially been European contenders. All because of some idiot — and I am being polite — it is purely scandalous. For once, when we could have shifted to the positive side, we could have had a good season, but now we will struggle and fight for survival because of people like this.”
Clermont have publicly stated their support for victim Diaw while there is yet to be any official reaction from the Professional Soccer League (LFP) to the incident. Previous punishments have resulted in partial or full stadium bans as well as points deductions which will be decided in the coming weeks with an investigation to take place first.