CHELSEA and Arsenal yobs clashed in Baku ahead of tonight’s Europa League Final leaving one fan in hospital with a serious head wound.
Rival supporters brawled in the picturesque Molokan Gardens in the centre of the Azerbaijani capital sending locals fleeing in panic late on Tuesday.
Two fans have been injured in violent clashes in Baku, according to reports in Azerbaijan[/caption]
Foreign hooligans wearing the English Premier League teams’ colours were understood to have been involved in the fracas.
The British Chelsea fan is believed to have been clubbed over the head after losing his footing during the fight, leaving blood gushing from a head wound.
Paramedics treated the injured man at the scene but were unable to stem the bleeding.
He was taken to the Central Clinic Hospital by ambulance, where health officials later confirmed he had suffered “an open lacerated head wound” – but added his injuries were not life threatening.
It was the first outbreak of violence involving fans of the London rivals who clash tonight in the first ever all-English Europa League Final at Baku’s 69,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
Around 4,000 fans form each of the Premier League teams have been arriving in Baku since Monday bolstered by foreign fans sporting team colours and locals.
Heavy security was in place around the stadium and the city’s central Fountain Square where chanting groups of fans drank beer and partied in sunshine before the kick-off at 11pm local time (8pm UK time).
Police said later that a Russian fan named as Zaur Mamedov, 41, suffered a face wound in the fight outside a pub but was tended by an ambulance crew at the scene.
Arsenal fans have also run into trouble with local police for wearing Henrikh Mkhitaryan shirts in protest at him not travelling to play the game.
The Armenian forward decided to stay at home over fears for his safety in Azerbaijan.
Video and images emerged on Tuesday of a fan being stopped by police and given a talking to before eventually being moved on.
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Fans going into the fanzone were also asked to see if they had ‘Mkhitaryan 7’ on the back of their shirts.
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri stormed out of training on Tuesday night and could be seen throwing his cap on the ground.
David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain had been involved in a row after Luiz appeared to elbow the forward, but Chelsea later said Sarri was “frustrated” as he was not able to practice set-pieces.