Police officer dies in violent Bilbao v Spartak clashes

Fireworks were shown being fired in the streets of the Spanish city before Thursday's game

A police officer in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao has died of a heart attack while on duty at Athletic Bilbao's Europa League game against Spartak Moscow.

With many traveling fans believed to have arrived without tickets, the atmosphere was reportedly tense from the start.

At least five people were arrested as the police force struggled to regain control and calm the disorder. Latest reports also claim that the atmosphere remains tense in Bilbao.

Hundreds of Russian club supporters allegedly tried to cause unrest outside the San Mames stadium in Bilbao.

Athletic added a statement of their own, saying: "Our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased officer today".

The Spanish national police also confirmed the officer's death in a tweet. "Athletic Club express their strongest rejection of violence generated around football".

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At his post-match press conference, Athletic head coach Jose Angel Ziganda said, in quotes carried on Twitter: "We didn't know anything".

The statement went on to ask fans not to "succumb to provocations and not enter conflicts with local residents".

Prosecutors have indicated that the 31-year-old will be extradited to France in short order, where he faces up to 15 years in prison for his gruesome act.

Marca's Juanma Velasco reports glasses and flares were thrown in the scuffle between Spartak and Bilbao fans, which led to "several arrests".

Spartak were knocked out of the Europa League on the night, a 2-1 win in Thursday's second leg not enough after they were beaten 3-1 in Russian Federation.

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