Angry Saint-Etienne fans stormed a pitch after the team lost a playoff game and was relegated from Ligue 1, France’s top tier.
Saint-Etienne lost 5-4 on penalty kicks to Auxerre.
The second-leg game at Stade Geoffre, in Saint-Etienne, had ended 1-1 with no goals added in extra time.
The first-leg game had been another draw.
Saint-Etienne fans invaded immediately after the last penalty kick, setting off flares on the field.
Players from both teams fled to the locker room to avoid the mayhem.
Police then dispersed the players, according to L’Equipe newspaper.
No injuries were immediately reported.
Auxerre’s Hamza Sakhi scored the first goal of the game before Mahdi Camara got Saint-Etienne’s equaliser.
In the shootout, Ryad Boudebouz missed a penalty for Saint-Etienne as Auxerre clinched its place in Ligue 1 during the next season.
Auxerre goalkeeper Donovan Leon was lauded for blocking the shot and making a total of eight saves.
‘Nobody believed in us’
“I was there when we were demoted in 2012,” Leon said.
“Nobody believed in us in this playoff, it was really tough but we managed to go up.”
Saint-Etienne owns a record-tying 10 league titles and has not played in the second tier, Ligue 2, since 2005.
“We will in a while announce important news concerning the future of the club and our own,” said Saint-Etienne shareholders Bernard Caiazzo and Roland Romeyer in a statement published just after the game.
Saint-Etienne dominated the league during the 1960s and 1970s, but suffered setbacks in the 1980s after a financial scandal.
The club is facing financial difficulties that have worsened following the onset of the pandemic and the collapse of Ligue 1’s billion-dollar television contract.
Saint-Etienne is officially on sale.
Auxerre’s fortunes appear to be changing, with its victory marking the end of a decade-long absence from the top tier.