European Championship Qualifying - Group I
Serbia19:45Albania
Match abandoned - Crowd

Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania abandoned after trouble

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Riot police had to be brought in to restore calm but the Serbia-Albania match was abandoned, as Wendy Urquhart reports

Serbia's match with Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political message sparked clashes involving players and fans on the Partizan Stadium pitch.

The Euro 2016 qualifier, refereed by English official Martin Atkinson, was suspended in the 41st minute at 0-0.

Trouble flared when a nationalist Albanian banner flew above the pitch and was caught by a Serbia player.

Albania players tried to take it before several fans broke onto the pitch.

Serbian B92 Television journalist Milos Saranovic
One small stupid situation made an explosion - that is the shortest way to describe the incident of the night

Atkinson led the players off the field and, after a delay of around 30 minutes, Uefa confirmed the match had been abandoned.

Albanian fans had been banned from attending the qualifier between the two Balkan rival nations.

Serbia and Albania have a history of turbulent relations, predominantly in relation to the former Serbian province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

It has been recognised by the United States and major European Union countries, but Serbia refuses to do so, as do most ethnic Serbs inside Kosovo.

"It is a regretful situation on which we will report; the referee, myself and the security adviser. The circumstances were such that we couldn't continue the match," Uefa match delegate Harry Been said.

Serbia-Albania game abandoned
Some fans invaded the pitch following the clash between the players in the Euro 2016 qualifier

"You all saw what happened and I cannot comment on who is to blame or what to blame. I will submit a report with my colleagues to Uefa and Uefa will decide what will happen further."

Serbian national broadcaster RTS reported that Olsi Rama, the brother of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, was arrested in the stadium's VIP box for instigating the drone stunt, but he later denied that was the case.

Serbian B92 Television journalist Milos Saranovic, who was at the match, told BBC Sport: "The whole atmosphere before the game was that Serbia and Albania was more politically sensitive than any other game.

"I cannot remember for years so many police at the stadium. Everything looked like a situation that is not normal.

"One small stupid situation made an explosion - that is the shortest way to describe the incident of the night.

"The players have usually been able to keep the atmosphere on the pitch normal. The game was normal for 40 minutes with no small accident on the pitch but when that flag appeared, the heat was going up."

How the incident unfolded
A drone carrying an Albanian flag is flown above the stands and pitch at the Partizan Stadium
Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic pulls down the flag which several Albania players then attempted to take
A melee involving numerous players ensues, prompting English referee Martin Atkinson to lead the teams off the field after some fans got onto the pitch
Following a delay of about 30 minutes, the match is abandoned

Albania had been looking for their second win in Group I, having started the day top with four points.

Denmark, in second place before Tuesday's games, lost to Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a last-minute goal in a 1-0 win.

In other matches, Switzerland beat San Marino 4-0 in Group E - England's group - while Gibraltar lost 3-0 to Georgia in Group D. In that section's other games, Scotland drew 2-2 in Poland while the Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 in Germany.

Northern Ireland recorded their third win in as many games to beat Greece 2-0 and top Group F with nine points.

Finally, in Group F, Hungary edged Faroe Islands 1-0 and Romania won 2-0 in Finland.

Stefan Mitrovic
Stefan Mitrovic pulled down the flag before Albania players tried to grab it back
Serbia-Albania game abandoned
A skirmish between Serbian and Albanian players broke out on the pitch
Serbia-Albania game abandoned
Albania players leave the pitch during the Euro 2016 Group I game against Serbia
Serbia-Albania game abandoned
Serbian riot police surround Serbian supporters after a fight broke out on the pitch
Serbia-Albania game abandoned
A masked supporter pulls the drone that had carried the flag over the pitch

Line-ups

Serbia

  • 1Stojkovic
  • 6IvanovicBooked at 35mins
  • 13Mitrovic
  • 5Nastasic
  • 11Kolarov
  • 8Gudelj
  • 14Matic
  • 7Tosic
  • 19Djuricic
  • 10Tadic
  • 18Lazovic

Substitutes

  • 2Maksimovic
  • 3Tosic
  • 4Petrovic
  • 9Djordjevic
  • 12Rajkovic
  • 15Tomovic
  • 16Jojic
  • 17Ignjovski
  • 20Mitrovic
  • 21Markovic
  • 22Kuzmanovic
  • 23Brkic

Albania

  • 1Berisha
  • 4Hysaj
  • 5Cana
  • 15Mavraj
  • 7AgolliBooked at 34mins
  • 13Kukeli
  • 2Lila
  • 22Abrashi
  • 14Xhaka
  • 3Lenjani
  • 19Balaj

Substitutes

  • 6Curri
  • 8Shala
  • 9Kapllani
  • 10Rama
  • 11Vila
  • 12Shehi
  • 16Cikalleshi
  • 17Meha
  • 18Salihi
  • 20Kace
  • 21Vajushi
  • 23Hoxha
Referee:
Martin Atkinson

Match Stats

Home TeamSerbiaAway TeamAlbania
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home5
Away4
Shots on Target
Home0
Away2
Corners
Home1
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away5

Live Text

Match abandoned due to crowd trouble, Serbia 0, Albania 0.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match (Serbia).

Offside, Albania. Ermir Lenjani tries a through ball, but Bekim Balaj is caught offside.

Offside, Serbia. Darko Lazovic tries a through ball, but Dusan Tadic is caught offside.

Corner, Albania. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Attempt saved. Ermir Lenjani (Albania) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Ansi Agolli.

Foul by Nemanja Gudelj (Serbia).

Bekim Balaj (Albania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Lorik Cana (Albania) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ansi Agolli with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Albania. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.

Attempt saved. Mergim Mavraj (Albania) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Amir Abrashi.

Attempt missed. Amir Abrashi (Albania) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Booking

Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia).

Ermir Lenjani (Albania) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Ansi Agolli (Albania) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Stefan Mitrovic (Serbia).

Bekim Balaj (Albania) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Albania. Conceded by Zoran Tosic.

Foul by Stefan Mitrovic (Serbia).

Bekim Balaj (Albania) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Serbia. Conceded by Lorik Cana.

Attempt blocked. Dusan Tadic (Serbia) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Foul by Dusan Tadic (Serbia).

Lorik Cana (Albania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nemanja Gudelj (Serbia).

Bekim Balaj (Albania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dusan Tadic (Serbia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Lorik Cana (Albania).

Foul by Darko Lazovic (Serbia).

Mergim Mavraj (Albania) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Burim Kukeli (Albania) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Filip Djuricic.

Attempt missed. Zoran Tosic (Serbia) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Andi Lila (Albania) because of an injury.

Nemanja Gudelj (Serbia) wins a free kick on the right wing.

goal

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