ANTWERP, Belgium — A soccer player was injured by a smoke bomb thrown by rival fans during Sporting Charleroi’s 3-1 win at Royal Antwerp in the Belgian League on Sunday.
Cristian Benavente dropped to the ground after being struck on the shoulder by an extinguished smoke bomb after putting Charleroi 2-1 up in the 28th minute. The 23-year-old Peru midfielder was celebrating his second goal for Charleroi in front of a section of Antwerp’s home fans.
Antwerp coach Laszlo Boloni says Benavente “could have found some other place to go celebrate his goal.”
However, Benavente says “it wasn’t my intention to provoke anyone, I simply continued running instinctively as I was celebrating.”
Charleroi club secretary Pierre-Yves Hendrickx says his player should be absolved of any blame but thinks a possible punishment of Antwerp having to play a match behind closed doors would be too severe.
“The league will do its job because our player received a smoke bomb on his head and that will be in the referee’s report I suppose,” he said. “So a fine will have to follow. It shouldn’t go any further because the incident wasn’t followed by another.”
(This story has been corrected to show that Charleroi player Benavente celebrated his goal in front of Antwerp home fans, not away fans.)