The first ‘Languedoc derby’ in 25 years had promised plenty of drama, but neither players nor officials were quite ready for the incidents that threatened its cancellation and the points to be awarded to struggling Nimes.
Dominant from the outset, Montpellier had taken their lead to 3-0 by the 79th minute thanks to goals from Ambroise Oyongo, Andy Delort, who scored a penalty 10 minutes into first-half stoppage time, and Gaetan Laborde.
But virtually claiming all three points wasn’t enough for some of the rowdier fans in the crowd who — following an initial seven-minute interruption when a barrier caved in — then climbed the barriers to run on to the pitch.
French riot police quickly restored order, while Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin intervened in a bid to restore calm.
The incidents could lead to sanctions for Montpellier, who are now nine points behind runaway leaders and champions Paris Saint-Germain, who saw Neymar hit a brace Saturday in a 3-0 win at Nice.
Marseille, in fifth, can move up to second place behind their arch-rivals from the capital with a win at Lille in Sunday’s late game.