April 12: AC Milan goalkeeper Dida is hit by a flare thrown from the stands during a match against rival Internazionale.
MILAN, Italy - AC Milan goalkeeper Dida was hit by a flare thrown from the stands, and Tuesday night’s European Champions League quarterfinal against crosstown rival Internazionale was halted with about 15 minutes to play.
AC Milan was ahead 1-0 and set to advance on 3-0 aggregate when Dida was struck on his left shoulder by the flare in the 73rd minute. The game was stopped, and when referee Markus Merk tried to restart play 10 minutes later, more fireworks were thrown and Merk abandoned the match in the 75th minute.
“Tonight’s episode doesn’t just hurt Inter, but the entire city of Milan,” AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “The reaction of the Inter fans was surprising. I’ve played and coached in Milan for 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Inter fans were upset that when Esteban Cambiasso put the ball in the net in the 71st minute, the goal was disallowed because of a foul. Last weekend, scores of fans were arrested throughout Italy following confrontations with police and racist chants.
“After the goal was annulled, the fans’ anger was understandable, although the reaction of throwing objects onto the field is not justified,” Inter defender Ivan Cordoba said.
When Merk tried to restart the game, Christian Abbiati took over from Dida in goal for AC Milan.
“He’s OK, although he does have some pain where he was hit,” AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf said. “The government, the entire country, has to understand that something must be done.”
Andriy Shevchenko scored the only goal in the 30th minute. The Union of European Football Associations said it will decide whether the result of the game stands.
In Tuesday’s other game, Chelsea lost 3-2 at Bayern Munich but advanced on 6-5 aggregate in the home-and-home, total-goals series.
Frank Lampard, who scored two goals in the first leg, scored in the 30th minute but Claudio Pizarro tied the score in the 65th. Didier Drogba put Chelsea back ahead in the 80th, but Bayern got goals from Paolo Guerrero in the 90th and Mehmet Scholl in the fifth minute of injury time.
“You can see the hunger in the players to win this thing,” Lampard said.
On Wednesday, Liverpool takes a 2-1 lead into its game at Juventus of Turin and Lyon travels to PSV Eindhoven following a 1-1 tie in last week’s first leg. Chelsea plays the Liverpool-Juventus winner.
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