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Spanish soccer returns with conclusion of match called off 179 days ago after alleged Nazi chant

A soccer supporter watches from a balcony the second-division game match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete in Madrid, Spain, from an apartment. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

A match in Spain that started in December came to its conclusion on Wednesday, a full 179 days after the starting whistle, per the BBC.

Rayo Vallecano and Albacete began their second-tier match on Dec. 15 in Madrid, but it was stopped at halftime when Albacete Ukranian striker Roman Zozulya was called a Nazi by Rayo fans. The score was 0-0 and Albacete was down to 10 men.

With Spanish leagues starting back up amid the COVID-19 crisis, the game was resumed on Wednesday in Madrid without fans in attendance. Rayo won with a goal by Luis Advincula in the 61st minute. It elicited celebration from fans watching from apartments around the stadium. One is positioned directly behind a goal.

Zozulya was previously on loan to Rayo in 2017, but the deal was canceled after protests by the club’s fans. They accused Zozulya of having far-right links, which the player has vehemently denied. He said it started with a misunderstanding by a journalist when he first arrived in Spain.

After the taunts in December, Albacete personnel stood by Zozulya. La Liga backed the decision to call off the rest of the game due to “serious insults and threats.”

Spain and Italy have seen recent spikes in racist incidents before COVID-19 forced leagues to temporarily shut down. La Liga is starting back up later this week with the Premier League and Serie A likely following next week. Germany’s Bundesliga has been running since May 16 and both the MLS and NWSL in the United States have plans in place for summer tournaments.

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