Daily Mail Online: LONDON, England – Rival gangs of English football fans clashed with riot police armed with batons on the streets of Porto today ahead of the hotly anticipated Champions League final tomorrow.
Supporters of Manchester City and Chelsea fought each other and police by the Douro river in the north-west Portuguese city after a bar stool was hurled back and forth.
Armed with flags adorned with their club crests, English fans flouted social distancing as they threw punches and lit up flares in skirmishes following a day of heavy drinking.
Up to 16,500 fans will be admitted, with each side allocated 6,000 tickets – with around 2,000 going to UEFA delegates and sponsors – and the rest sold to regular punters in Portugal.
Thousands of fans will take day trips on Saturday to the final, and will be escorted to and from the stadium and airport to limit exposure in a Covid-secure bubble.
16,500 tickets have been sold ahead of the first all-English Champions League final for 13 years – but thousands more people have flocked to Porto in the hopes of securing a last-minute seat in the Estádio do Dragão.
The images are in sharp contrast to those that emerged last night, when rival fans clashed at around 10.30pm local time.
Two men traded blows near the escalator entrance to the public transport network – with the others rushing over to intervene.
One of them was left sprawled out in the road as his mates rushed past him to get revenge, as one man is in hospital today in the wake of the fight.
But thousands more fans are reported to have flocked to Porto in the hopes of securing a last-minute seat in the Estádio do Dragão to watch their side
The footage ended as the groups kicked what appeared to be a dustbin across the street at each other.
A second clip shows the men trading blows down the road from the first fight while glass bottles were hurled and shattered on the pavement.
Local riot police were said to have been called and pulled the two groups apart to end the fighting.
A witness told MailOnline: ‘We walked around the corner and saw the two different groups fighting. The groups sounded British but it was hard to say what team – and I didn’t want to get close enough to find out.
‘The riot police turned up just after the video to separate the two groups and that’s when we walked off.’
Supporters locked horns with local police after they spilled out of bars when they shut at 10.30pm.
Local TV in Porto showed footage of various incidents with Chelsea and Manchester City fans arriving ahead of Saturday night’s huge game.
One clip showed a chaotic scene with a number of people running across a road, while horns blared and yobs yelled.
Local media and the city’s mayor, Rui Moreira, confirmed that one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries following the brawl.
Chelsea and City fans reportedly clashed with Porto police and each-other in altercations that could lead to heightened security being deployed on the streets.
It follows similarly scenes on Wednesday night when Manchester United and City fans fought and had to be broken up by baton-wielding military police.
The City supporters took extra delight in seeing United lose the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal.
A witness told the Sun: ‘That set off pushing and shoving followed by fighting in the street. Military police had to wade in with batons to break it up.’
There were no serious injuries and there are no reports of anyone being arrested or charged.
United fans watched their side lose against underdogs Villarreal on Wednesday in Gdansk.
City are preparing to face familiar Premier League foes Chelsea in the Champions League showpiece in the Estadio do Dragao tomorrow.A total of 16,500 fans are allowed to watch the game in the stadium, 33 per cent of the 50,000 capacity.
But many more have travelled either in the hope of finding a ticket or simply to be in close proximity to the action while on holiday.
Fans have to have proof of a negative PCR Covid test to enter the venue carried out from May 26 or lateral flow test from May 28.
The game was originally supposed to take place in Istanbul, but the UK placed Turkey on the ‘red’ list – meaning travellers would have had to quarantine for 14-days upon their return.
There are others arriving in Porto who are not restricted by those measures who the police are said to be keeping a close eye on.
Portugal was one of only a handful of countries added to the UK’s ‘green list’ of places to travel from May 17.
But hundreds of thousands of Britons may use a loophole to fly there before travelling over land to their second homes in Spain, France and Italy.
The opening up of flights saw a rush of people jetting to Faro, Porto or Lisbon but there was nothing to stop them renting a car and driving into Europe.