A restless run-up to the Champions League match between Porto and Antwerp. Hooligans from both clubs clashed in the center of Porto last night. The Portuguese police had to intervene with rubber bullets and strict checks.
A matter of honor for those of Porto. The hard core was not pleased with how a few masked Antwerp fans went into confrontation after the whistle a few weeks ago and tried to invade Porto’s away section at the Bosuil. The security forces then intervened en masse, and with the help of a water cannon, the situation was calmed down. The return match in Portugal was therefore also about revenge for the Ultras of the Portuguese top club. And they are no wimps. The supporters of ‘The Great Old’ had been warned not to wander through the streets.
The day before the match – not surprisingly – this confrontation also occurred. The streets around café ‘Bonaparte Downtown’ – the meeting point for RAFC fans – were packed with partying Antwerp residents all evening, but the problems mainly occurred a little further in the Ribeira district, where about 300 members of the hard core had sought confrontation. Video footage shows how groups of fans from both teams got into a fight with each other around 10 p.m. The Portuguese newspaper A Bola reports that Antwerp fans threw chairs and tables through the streets, and later flares were also used. The many catering establishments in the city center of Porto previously had to close their doors. The Portuguese police intervened massively and violently – even shooting rubber bullets – and dozens of arrests were made.
Police remained present in large numbers for the rest of the night to prevent further riots from breaking out. The streets around Café Bonaparte were almost completely closed around 11 pm and everyone was forced by the police to stay inside the café – guilty or innocent. Only when a large number of those present had been checked did peace return and many fans returned home.
Not that that’s the end of the matter. In the run-up to tonight’s match, there could be another clash. Remember Barcelona, where the Antwerp fans’ march towards the stadium also led to skirmishes. Tonight, 2,500 fans can enter the visiting section, but many Antwerp fans have also obtained tickets in Porto’s home sections via Dutch and French websites, among others. Even though the stadium is not completely sold out tonight (with a capacity of 50,000 fans), the Portuguese police had better not allow another confrontation.
LOOK. After the first leg, Antwerp fans tried to attack the Porto supporters
READ ALSO: LOOK. Unrest on the Bosuil: masked Antwerp fans try to attack Porto supporters, police use water cannon
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