A marten invaded the field during a Swiss soccer match. The furry weasel-like creature bit one player before it was finally captured and escorted off the field.
The player, Zurich defender Loris Benito, later lamented his decision to run after the furry critter who chomped on his right pointer finger.
Benito said, “In hindsight, I was probably a little foolish. You don’t know what sort of disease it might be carrying. It was painful.” And understandably so.
The wild pine marten first made its way across the field once. A referee blew the whistle for play to continue when it ran onto the pitch yet again. Officials used a small net to try and capture it, but the pesky creature broke free. That was when Benito decided to go after it. Unfortunately, he received the injured finger for his efforts.
The marten wrestled its way free and shot into the stands, under the feet of fans watching the match. But its disappearance was short-lived. The marten invaded the field yet again, delaying the Swiss Super League game between FC Thun and Zurich.
Pine martens tend to be elusive. They are not uncommon in Europe, though they are extinct from most of England and Wales because of persecution. Their love of heavily wooded areas makes this weasel’s appearance in a soccer stadium somewhat of a mystery.
Thankfully, Zurich’s goalkeeper, Davide Da Costa eventually caught the marten. And, because he wore gloves, he did not suffer the same fate as Benito. The game delay continued until the marten was successfully removed from the stadium.
After the marten who invaded the field was finally removed, Zurich went on to win 4-0 against Thun, a result that Benito thanked the marten for. The defender appeared to have no hard feelings for the mammal, despite the bite to his finger. He even suggested making the marten the team’s mascot. He added, “We have the lion. But the [marten] has brought us luck.”