The Ligue 1 game between Montpellier and Clermont was abandoned after a firecracker was thrown at visiting goalkeeper Mory Diaw on Sunday at Stade de la Mosson.
In Montpellier, television pictures showed a firecracker landing next to the feet of Clermont goalkeeper Diaw and exploding with a loud bang, just as the match was entering stoppage time.
A clearly stunned Diaw went down and needed treatment before being stretchered off, and the game was halted before being abandoned following a crisis meeting.
“The doctor who examined the Clermont goalkeeper certified that he was not in a condition to return to the field. The match is therefore halted definitively,” referee Florent Batta told media at the Stade de la Mosson.
Montpellier were leading 4-2 and on course for their first home win of the season until the incident, and now risk serious punishment with the prospect of having to replay the game without their fans at the very least.
A police spokesman told AFP that the suspected perpetrator had been arrested.
Diaw was able to return to Clermont with his teammates after the game and was due to undergo further tests on Monday, the club said.
“We are disgusted, disappointed and sad,” admitted Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin, as he complained that the actions of one individual “could penalise the whole team”.
On the other hand, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) bounced back from their heavy Champions League loss at Newcastle United to beat Rennes 3-1 in Ligue 1.
PSG were thrashed 4-1 in Newcastle on Wednesday, a result and a performance which raised serious doubts about their prospects in Europe this season.
But they returned to form against Rennes at a ground where they have regularly struggled in recent years, recording a win which lifts them up to third in the table, two points behind leaders Monaco.
“We are always happy when we win, but I was also happy after the defeat at Newcastle,” claimed coach Luis Enrique.
He abandoned his experiment with playing four forwards, and the returning midfielder Vitinha opened the scoring with a brilliant arcing strike into the top corner from an Ousmane Dembele pass just after the half-hour mark.
It was 2-0 four minutes later when Warren Zaire-Emery crossed for Achraf Hakimi, arriving unmarked in the box, to head in.
Amine Gouiri headed home from close range to get Rennes back into the match in the 56th minute, but PSG scored again two minutes later as Hakimi’s low delivery was converted at the near post by Randal Kolo Muani, who had been dropped from the starting line-up.
Kolo Muani had another goal disallowed for offside, while Kylian Mbappe somehow shot over late on after a brilliant burst forward that had taken him around the goalkeeper.
“He might not have scored today, but he has been performing at a really high level since the start of the season,” Luis Enrique said of Mbappe.
“It is a bit bizarre when Kylian doesn’t score but it is just a side note.”