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Reds, Gamba apologize to Onitake

Kyodo News

Senior officials of Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka apologized Monday to J. League chairman Kenji Onitake after Saturday’s match between the two clubs was marred by trouble both on and off the pitch.

“Basically, Urawa are responsible for what happened as hosts. They were inefficient in handling the situation,” Onitake said, referring to the incident in which about 200 police officers were mobilized for crowd control.

Gamba riled the Reds by forming a circle on the pitch to start wild celebrations, but the visitors’ hard-fought 3-2 win was soured when a mass player brawl ensued at Saitama Stadium 2002.

Trouble then flared in the stands as a water balloon thrown from a partitioned section for Gamba fans hit a child on the Reds side. The two sides then tossed objects at each other through the fences.

In the end, around 1,000 Gamba fans had to be escorted out of the stadium more than three hours after the final whistle because a crowd of angry Urawa fans had gathered outside.