LEGIA WARSAW fans were denied entry to Villa Park at the start of Thursday night’s crunch Europa Conference League tie against Aston Villa after violence erupted prior to kick off.
Police in riot gear met Legia fans and kettled them into a car park near the stadium but could not prevent trouble breaking out one hour before kick-off.
Legia Warsaw fans rioted with police as three officers were injuredCredit: Reuters
Police battled the fans as flares were lit by the travelling supportCredit: Reuters
It was a chaotic scene outside Villa ParkCredit: Reuters
Legia supporters were furious they could not enter the groundCredit: PA
The away section of Villa Park was completely empty as Legia fans were denied entryCredit: Reuters
It made for a bizarre atmosphere inside the stadiumCredit: Reuters
At least three officers were injured as Legia fans hurled missiles at an army of police.
Legia fans were furious after they had their allocation cut from 1700 to 1010 tickets, following violent clashes between Warsaw fans and Dutch police in Alkmaar.
But almost 1,000 ticketless Polish fans vowed to join their support and try to storm Villa Park turnstiles.
West Midlands Police mounted a huge security operation but violent scenes broke out when police began to move Legia fans from their compound to march them to the stadium.
Birmingham Police issued a statement on X to confirm: “We’re currently unable to allow away fans into Villa Park following disorder outside the stadium which has seen missiles thrown at officers.
“Three officers have already been injured and a significant police operation continues. Please avoid Witton Lane where possible.”
The match kicked off with the visitors’ section empty as police continued to battle to restore control of the rioting Polish fans.
Footage on social media appeared to show missiles being lobbed at Villa fans from outside the stadium.
Legia had their ticket allocation cut following violence with Dutch police last monthCredit: PA
The police endured a horrid night in the MidlandsCredit: Reuters
On the field, it did not take long for Villa to go in front as Moussa Diaby tucked home the opener after just four minutes.
But Ernest Muci levelled things up for the visitor’s midway through the first half.
The two sides came into the clash on nine points as they battled for top spot in Group E.
Unai Emery’s side had won six of their last seven matches in all competitions heading into the European tie.
Their 2-1 win away at Tottenham on Sunday moved them into the Premier League’s top four for the first time since 2009.