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An assistant referee in Austria has been left with blood gushing out of his head after being hit by a projectile thrown from a fan during a Europa League match.
Austrian club Sturm Graz issued an apology after the official sustained a cut to the head in their Europa League tie against AEK Larnaca.
The linesman appeared to be struck by a cup thrown from the crowd during the tie at Liebenauer Stadium in Graz, leading to a long delay as he received treatment.
The teams were taken off the field by referee Mohammed Al-Hakim, however, his assistant played no further part in the match, replaced instead by the fourth official.
“This behaviour of a fan in today’s Europa League game is by no means acceptable,” Sturm Graz said in a statement after the match.
“This damages the reputation of football and us as a club. We always try to see football as a positive celebration and to tackle these exact things.
“Fair play is our top priority. We are sorry that today we have disappointed many football fans.
“The cup thrower was caught. The possible punishments will be considered.
“Sturm Graz wishes the linesman all the best and speedy recovery.”
The Austrian side lost the game 2-0 to goals from Joan Truyols and Ivan Trickovski, while they had Stefan Hierlander sent off in the 94th minute.
The club said the culprit has since been caught.