CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in LYON: Three Tottenham fans were taken to hospital and others were left with cuts and bruises after masked attackers twice tried to smash their way into a pub in Lyon ahead of tonight’s Europa League second round return.
Spurs supporters met trouble from Lazio fans in the group stage and had not expected a violent ‘welcome’ from men disguised in balaclavas as around 200 gathered in the Smoking Dog Pub. Windows were smashed and a door battered down. French police later reported three arrests.
Bar staff blamed the attack not on fans of host club Olympique Lyon but on right-wing extremists after witnesses had reported masked attackers massing earlier in the evening near the old city centre.
Police took 20 minutes to attend after the first windows were smashed. Spurs fans sought to build barricades of tables and chairs inside the pub to repel trouble-makers.
Dave Eales, English owner of the pub, said he had been told several weeks ago that such an attack was being planned by local criminal gangs.
He added: “I warned the police on Saturday this might happen. I’m 90pc sure it’s the far right. They sent scouts around at about 7pm to check it out.” The attack was launched just over three hours later.
Mick Gough, 50, from Kent, said: “Everyone was standing in front of the door when suddenly they started throwing things – glass everywhere. I was hit by a stool – one of the first to come through the window. They were just determined to get into the bar.
“There was a guy down in the corner who was covered in blood. Everyone else got themselves on the ground.”
Fellow Spurs fan Clive Coyle, 47, also from Kent added: “I was able to get out and I saw down the street and there was about 200 of them. There was no sign that they were Lyon fans. They were all in black balaclavas.”
Tottenham are defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg at White Hart Lane.
Last autumn Spurs fans were targeted during their Group J campaign by fans of Lazio. The Italian club was fined by UEFA for both monkey chants directed at Spurs players during the first game in London in September and then for anti-Semitic chants during the return in Rome. Spurs fans were also attacked in the Italian capital before the game.
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