Flare-throwing fans halt Italy-Croatia qualifier, referee orders players to leave field

Flares are launched by Croatia supporters during the Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Croatia, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. The match was temporarily suspended following the launch of flares and clashes with Italian riot police on the stands. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Flares are launched by Croatia supporters during the Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Croatia, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. The match was temporarily suspended following the launch of flares and clashes with Italian riot police on the stands. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

A perfectly riveting Euro 2016 qualifier between Italy and Croatia was abruptly (and somewhat predictably) interrupted in the 75th minute when Croatian fans began throwing flares onto the San Siro pitch on Sunday.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was the apparent target of the Croatian supporters' madness, which halted play for roughly 11 minutes before order could be restored. The Vine below captures the beginning of the flare-fest.

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As the stadium became engulfed in smoke, referee Bjorn Kuipers had no choice but to order the players to leave the field to ensure their safety. Things got so out of hand in the stands that riot police had to disperse the flare-tossing throng and, out of nowhere, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt began pleading with the traveling supporters to keep the peace (actually, it was Gordon-Levitt's doppleganger, Croatia coach Niko Kovac).

Eventually, the teams returned to the field to earn a much-deserved point in a 1-1 draw. Antonio Candreva's 11th-minute strike gave Italy the lead but Ivan Perisic equalized for Croatia four minutes later.

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