Armed Croatian hooligan invades pitch in bid to attack referee (VIDEO)

This is the sinister moment a hooligan brandishing a long iron bar rushed onto the pitch during the Croatian Prva HNL league game between Hajduk Split and Rijeka in an attempt to attack the match referee.

The incident occurred in second-half stoppage time of the game on Saturday at Stadion Poljud, home ground of Hajduk, with the score at 1-1 and most of the players grouped in the Rijeka area anticipating a Hajduk free kick.

The individual, clad in red trainers and a black Adidas tracksuit with the hood pulled tight around his face, appeared from the stand behind the Rijeka goal clutching the weapon and gesticulating while running around the players and toward the referee, forcing him to flee.

In the absence of any approaching security forces, Hajduk defender and captain Zoran Nižić stepped up to intervene. He moved to block the intruder’s path and ushered the would-be attacker back to the direction of the terrace.

However, it was only after the fan refused to re-enter the stand that lethargic police officers finally escorted him away as they came under attack from missiles being launched from the stand behind the goal.

It was not the first time the game had been interrupted by crowd unrest. Earlier, play was halted for several minutes due to fireworks being set off by a home fan.

A goal on 31 minutes by Hajduk midfielder Hamza Barry was equalized by a Roman Bezjak penalty on 81 minutes.

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It is believed the fan entered the field of play to protest the decision to give the away side the spot kick.

Nevertheless the result meant that Rijeka remain Europe's only undefeated team in all competitions this season, leading their domestic league on 62 points while Hajduk sit in fourth spot.