Coach deplores behaviour of Levski fans but opponents claim he exaggerated incident.

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CSKA coach Stoycho Mladenov was knocked unconscious by a snowball thrown by rival Levski fans during the weekend’s Sofia derby in Bulgaria. 

“They hit me with a snowball and I lost consciousness,” the 57-year-old Mladenov told reporters. “It’s not the first, second or third Levski offence. They should throw them out of the league. Tomorrow, someone could die.” 

Mladenov was hit on the head in the early stages of the game, which CSKA won 3-0, and collapsed on to the athletics track surrounding the pitch.

However, not everyone was convinced, with Vladimir Vladimirov, the head of Levski’s supporters’ club claiming: “Children play with snowballs the whole winter but I haven’t heard of anyone who has collapsed. It was disgusting to watch, his over-acting was so poor.” 

The game between the two most popular clubs in the country is known as the “eternal derby” and has a history of crowd trouble. And the 137th meeting between the two was no different, with 57 fans detained before the game and more than 100 police officers needed to halt a pitch invasion by Levski fans after CSKA’s third goal.

While no one would condone supporters throwing snowballs at coaches or players, a quick perusal of the video footage does suggest that Mladenov did indeed make the most of the incident.