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Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 22:02 GMT 23:02 UK
Invasion halts international
France's Youri Djorkaeff watches a fan run on to the pitch
France's Djorkaeff watches a fan run on to the pitch
A friendly international between France and Algeria has been called off after a pitch invasion by Algerian fans.

World and European champions France were leading 4-1 12 minutes from the end of the match when a minority of Algerian fans ran on to the pitch at the Stade de France in Paris.

The fans quickly vacated the pitch but, with CRS riot police on alert, they threw bottles and seating back down towards the turf.

Ten minutes after the interruption, it was decided to call the match off.

When you see something like this, you must be disappointed
Farid Ghazi
Algerian striker
It was not immediately clear whether anyone had been injured.

It was the first time since Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 that the two countries had played.

The 80,000-seat stadium was filled to capacity.

Many fans were members of France's large Algerian community.

French soccer federation chairman Claude Simonet and French Sports Minister Marie-George Buffet asked supporters to avoid clashes while leaving the stadium.

"I'm calling on you to stay calm and to go back home quietly," said Simonet.

Death threats

"I'm really sad tonight because if you love your country you must respect its national team. I'm really sad Algeria were not allowed to play this to the end."

"When you see something like this, you must be disappointed," said Algerian striker Farid Ghazi.

"We came here to play and to have a good time. It's a shame the match ended like this."

Prior to the game, Paris police received a death threat aimed at Zinedine Zidane, France's Marseille-born playmaker who has strong Algerian roots.

The Real Madrid star was born in Marseille, but both his parents hail from the Kabylie region of the north African country.

Heading for comfortable win

Zidane was hailed by fans of both sides during the game.

France seemed certain for victory after AS Roma's Vincent Candela gave them the lead in the 20th minute, volleying home a cross by Arsenal's Robert Pires.

Chelsea's Emmanuel Petit and Arsenal's Thierry Henry scored in the 32nd and 41st minutes to give France a three-goal lead.

Olympique Marseille's Djamel Belmadi pulled one back for Algeria just before the break.

In the second half, Pires scored France's fourth goal in the 55th minute.

See also:

06 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
England reach World Cup finals
02 Oct 01 |  Europe
Zidane claims top award
06 Oct 01 |  World Cup 2002
Brown announces resignation
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