When it comes to raucous atmospheres and general fan insanity, few sporting events in the world can measure up to Istanbul derbies.
Turkey’s three biggest soccer clubs, and often its three best teams, are also its three fiercest rivals.
And more often than not, when they meet on the field, chaos surrounds it.
On Thursday (AEST), in the second leg of the Turkish cup semifinal between two of the rivals, Fenerbahce and Besiktas, that chaos overran the game itself.
With one Besiktas player in a heated exchange with opposing fans behind the team’s bench, and manager Senol Gunes trying to restrain him, Gunes was struck in the head by a projectile thrown from the stands.
Watch the incident unfold in the video at the top of the page.
Gunes fell to the ground. When he got up, he was constantly clutching his head with his hands. He was initially given an ice pack.
He was then pelted with more insults and what looked like a beverage as we walked down the tunnel:
YILIN OSCAR ÖDÜLÜ KESİNLİKLE ŞENOL GÜNEŞ’E VERİLMELİ.— BigFenerbahçe (@Big_Fenerbahce) April 19, 2018
MÜKEMMEL OYUNCULUK. 👌 pic.twitter.com/BR25ftYcxp
The head wound reportedly required five stitches. Some reports suggested Gunes was later hospitalized, and indeed Turkish TV caught video of him being wheeled into an ambulance:
Bülent Ülgen [BJK TV]: "Şenol Güneş'i ambulansa binerken tekmelemeye ve yumruklamaya çalıştılar."— FenerSoul (@FenerSoul) April 19, 2018
Anadolu Ajansının paylaştığı videoda 1 tane bile ''tekme-yumruk'' atmaya çalışan Fenerbahçeli yok. pic.twitter.com/5wiQynJbd6
It’s unclear exactly what the object was, by whom it was thrown, or what exactly Gunes’ injury was.
The match, which had already been stopped multiple times due to crowd trouble, was halted again after Gunes tumbled to the turf. It was eventually abandoned as players exited the field down the tunnel.
The two-leg series was left level with roughly 35 minutes remaining on the night. The first leg had ended 2-2 at Besiktas. Wednesday’s second leg at Fenerbahce was 0-0 early in the second half.
But Fenerbahce was playing 11-on-10 after Besiktas defender Pepe was shown a red card in the first half. It also had the advantage on away goals. It was seemingly on course for the final, until its fans ruined the day.
There’s no word yet from the Turkish Football Federation as to when or if the match will be replayed – and whether it will be restarted, or picked up in the second half where it left off.