Russia’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Montenegro had to be stopped for half an hour after goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit by a flare thrown by fans, and then the game was abandoned after crowd trouble and a melee between the two sets of players.
According to Montenegrin newspaper Vijesti, Akinfeev was hit by the flare only 20 seconds after the game started and had to be taken to hospital, where he was treated for burns and neck injuries – you can watch the moment he was hit below.
After he was replaced by substitute ‘keeper Yuri Lodygin, Akinfeev was taken to hospital where his injuries were described as not serious. However, the 33-minute delay did not calm the crowd in Podgorica and police were forced to intervene when fighting broke out between fans.
The report claims that German referee Deniz Ayetkin had talks with delegates at half time over whether the game should go on. It did, but only after an 18-minute delay due to more crowd trouble, with Russian and Montenegrin supporters having to be separated by police.
In the 66th minute Ayetkin awarded Russia a penalty, which led to intense protests from the home team, but Roman Shirokov’s eventual kick was saved by goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic.
After the kick was saved, a scuffle broke out between players and coaching staff of both teams and the referee decided to abandon the match when one Russian player indicated he had been hit by another missile thrown from the crowd.
UEFA have refused to comment until they have received the report from match officials and the UEFA delegate present at the match. Russia and Montenegro are currently both on five points in Group G, trailing top two Austria and Sweden, so the decision by UEFA officials will have a huge impact on their chances of qualifying for the tournament in France.