Football

Serbia vs Albania abandoned due to flag induced fight

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Serbia playing Albania in the Euro 2016 qualifiers always had the potential to descend into violence thanks to the politically charged situation between the two nations regarding Kosovo.

UEFA knew this and decided to ban Albania fans from attending the match weeks before today's encounter. That move completely failed to stop any problems thanks to a drone that was carrying a flag of Albania including Kosovo was flown into the stadium.

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The match had already been stopped briefly after flares had been thrown onto the Belgrade pitch, before Serbian centre half Stefan Mitrovic took the unwise decision to rip the flag off the drone that was carrying it. 

Albanian players retaliated to the man-handling of their flag and an all-out brawl erupted between the two sides before the Albanians stormed off the pitch and were pelted with rubbish, smoke bombs and seats by Serbian fans who were apparently chanting "Kill the Albanians" as the fight ensued.

A Serbian fan was pictured running on to the pitch attacking Albanian players with a plastic stool that he had apparently wrestled off a ball boy.

The game was initially suspended by English referee Martin Atkinson for 15 minutes before eventually being completely abandoned. 

Relations between Albania and Serbia have been fractious since the civil war fought over Kosovo, a former Yugoslavian region which is made up mostly of ethnic Albanians but claimed by the Serb state.

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