Football

Smoke bomb forces evacuation of La Liga match

VILLARREAL, Spain (AP) — A smoke bomb with effects similar to tear gas was thrown onto the pitch of El Madrigal Stadium and forced the game between host Villarreal and Celta Vigo to be temporarily stopped on Saturday.

The device was thrown in the 87th minute, causing fans to stream toward the exits and players to ask for water as it apparently irritated their eyes. A public announcer asked the spectators to evacuate.

Celta was leading 1-0 when the game was interrupted after Fabian Orellana's score in the 83rd minute. The game was restarted after a 20-minute delay for the smoke to clear and Celta's Manuel "Nolito" Agudo scored off a free kick in the 90th minute to give the visitors a 2-0 victory.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig said police are looking for the person who threw the bomb. He said the device had released tear gas and was similar to ones used by police. "Villarreal condemns and laments what has happened," Roig said. "This type of act in no way represents our fan base, which is calm and controlled. I am convinced that this was done by someone who came from outside to hurt Villarreal."

Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano added, "These things can't happen in our house. I hope the person is found." Celta coach and former Barcelona player Luis Enrique said he had never experienced anything like it in a game before.

"Everyone thought it was a flare, but when we saw (goalkeeper) Yoel (Rodriguez's) eyes, which were bright red, we immediately realized that it was something more dangerous," he said. "This should never have happened."

The loss left Villarreal in fifth place, four points out of the final Champions League spot.

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