Austria captain Marcel Sabitzer hit in face by object thrown from crowd during ugly scenes in Turkey clash

Marcel Sabitzer was hit in the head by an object thrown from the crowd (Getty Images)
Marcel Sabitzer was hit in the head by an object thrown from the crowd (Getty Images)

Austria captain Marcel Sabitzer was floored by an object that appeared to be hurled from the stands during Tuesday night’s final last-16 tie against Turkey at Euro 2024.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was painfully struck in the side of the face by a missile that seemed to be thrown by a fan as he prepared to take a corner during the second half of the game in Leipzig.

Sabitzer writhed on the floor clutching his head in pain after being hit by the object, which looked to be a coin on television replays, with the officials and players from both sides quickly checking on his wellbeing and reports on ITV’s coverage of the match that some Turkish players were gesturing and talking to fans in an effort to stop them from throwing things onto the pitch.

Thankfully the former Manchester United loanee was able to quickly get back to his feet and continue in the game, though it was an ugly scene that marred an otherwise thrilling knockout clash as Merih Demiral’s double - as well as a last-gasp wonder save from goalkeeper Mert Gunok - was enough to seal Turkey’s progress through to the quarter-finals, where they will face the Netherlands at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Saturday night.

Both the Turkish Football Federation and Austrian Football Association are likely to have questions to answer from Uefa over fan behaviour during Tuesday night’s fixture, with plastic cups thrown at corner takers from both teams including Arda Guler and Sabitzer.

Cups appeared to be thrown towards Real Madrid starlet Guler before he delivered the corner that was headed home by Demiral for Turkey’s second goal just shy of the hour mark at Red Bull Arena, with the 19-year-old then turning around and holding his ear to the Austria supporters as more objects rained down from the crowd.

There was a brief delay after the goal as the plastic cups were cleared away from the pitch.

It is certainly not the first time that cups have rained down from the crowd during Euro 2024 so far, with multiple nations punished by Uefa for the poor behaviour of their fans during games in Germany.

European football’s governing body has already handed down more than €1million in fines during the tournament so far for a range of offences including throwing objects onto the pitch.

England manager Gareth Southgate is among those to have been targeted by plastic cup-throwing following his side’s goalless draw against Slovenia in Cologne last week.

“It’s unacceptable,” said former England women’s international Karen Carney in her role as a pundit for the Austria vs Turkey match on ITV.

“It’s a common theme throughout the tournament. It has to stop, it’s unacceptable. Player and manager safety always comes first. This cannot happen.”