Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the Europa League was marred by violent clashes between Betis fans and riot police. The Spanish side went into the break on level terms after Ayoze Perez cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s opener, before Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst scored in the second period. Shortly after Weghorst’s 83rd-minute strike, a section of the supporters in the away end appeared to try and climb over the barriers to get at the home fans. Bottles and seats were thrown towards the United fans, with one fan taking off his belt and attempting to whip a United supporter over the green netting. One Betis fan was repeatedly spitting towards the home end.
TalkSPORT pundit and ex-Sunderland left-back Michael Gray was at the match, where he revealed that the Betis fans were trying to jump across the top of the stewards. He stated that bottles were being thrown from the Betis end into the Manchester United end, and that seats were being pulled out and thrown across to the United supporters. The situation was described as “ugly scenes” at Old Trafford. Betis’ fans ultimately failed to storm into the home end as police quickly moved in to clear them away in what was a fiery confrontation.
Shocking pictures have shown the angry clash between the police and stewards with the Betis fans as tensions boiled over inside the Theatre of Dreams. Footage of the ugly scenes has gone viral on social media, with one clip showing a line of stewards by the barrier separating both sets of supporters. In another video shared on Twitter, riot police and the fans could be seen engaging in heated scuffles. A statement has yet to be released by police.
Betis could now face punishment over their fans’ actions, with attention now turning to what reception United supporters will get in Spain ahead of next Thursday’s second leg. Despite the violence, Manchester United have one foot in the Europa League quarter-final as they smashed the Spanish side thanks to a second-half blitz at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman Weghorst had celebrated wildly after firing into the back of the net from close range in front of the visiting fans, though he didn’t attempt to rile them up. The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell stated that one fan took off his belt and attempted to whip a United supporter over the green netting. Meanwhile, The Sun have reported how one fan was repeatedly spitting towards the home end.
The incident has put a dampener on Manchester United’s victory and has highlighted the ongoing issue of violence at football matches. It is important for clubs and authorities to take steps to prevent such incidents from occurring in future matches. The safety of players, officials, and fans should always be a top priority.