Trouble mars Roma-Utd clash as police wade in

April 4, 2007

ROME, April 4 (Reuters) - Manchester United fans and Italian police clashed during the halftime break at the Champions League quarter-final with AS Roma which the English side lost 2-1 on Wednesday.

GettyImages / MichaelSteeleRiot police charge the fans in Rome.

Television pictures from Rome's Olympic Stadium showed Italian police wading in and flailing at Manchester United fans with batons with several United fans bleeding profusely from head wounds.

The trouble inside the stadium started a minute before halftime, when Rodrigo Taddei put Roma ahead and the rival supporters started to trade insults and throw objects from one section of the ground to the other.

One policeman was shown raining blows on a supporter who was lying motionless on the ground, and the pictures evoked memories of the 1970s and eighties when crowd violence and hooliganism was rife at European club matches.

A photographer saw one Manchester fan lying on the ground with blood coming from his forehead. The man was led away from police by other supporters.

A Roma fan who was in the stadium said the police made two charges against the English fans apparently in response to the throwing of missiles.

By the start of the second half the violence had calmed down.

An official at San Giacomo hospital in central Rome said one United fan had been admitted with a stab wound to the abdomen.

His condition was not critical but he would have to remain in hospital for at least one day, he said.

Italian news agency ANSA reported earlier three Manchester fans were later taken in handcuffs to the stadium's police station.

One of them was described as having a large head wound.

United fans were kept in the stadium for around 90 minutes after the end of the game before being escorted away.

As well as serious trouble at Italian grounds this season which peaked with the death of a policeman in Sicily, there was also trouble when Manchester United fans travelled to France to play Lille at Lens in February.

United had written to their travelling supporters earlier this week warning them to take extra care from Roma's 'ultra' fans while in the Italian capital.