Sevilla-Levante game halted by tennis ball protest

Madrid: Sevilla`s La Liga match at home to Levante was briefly suspended on Saturday when fans threw scores of tennis balls onto the pitch in protest over the kickoff time.

The game at the Sanchez Pizjuan had been moved back to 2230 local time (2030 GMT) because of the `Clasico` between Barcelona and Real Madrid that kicked off two-and-a-half hours earlier.

"The match has begun but it has now been suspended because of the throwing of tennis balls," Levante wrote on their Twitter feed. "It`s a form of protest over the `Clasico`."

The protest mirrored a similar incident in late 2010 by fans of FC Basel, who showered the pitch with tennis balls during a game after the kickoff time was changed to avoid a clash with a local tennis tournament.

When play resumed, Alvaro Negredo gave Sevilla a 21st-minute lead, Arouna Kone levelled for the visitors seven minutes later and Negredo missed a late penalty as the match ended 1-1.

Levante stay fifth on 49 points, two behind Malaga who play at Osasuna on Monday. Sevilla are sixth on 46 points. Fourth place offers a Champions League playoff spot.

Bureau Report

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