Montenegro-Russia abandoned after players brawl during match

After Russia's Roman Shirokov missed a penalty in the 66th minute with the score tied 0-0, players and staff from both sides shoved one another which resulted in an abandoned match.

STEVO VASILJEVIC/Action Images / Reuters

PODGORICA, Montenegro —

A European championship qualifying match between Montenegro and Russia has been abandoned following a brawl between the two teams’ players.

After Russia’s Roman Shirokov missed a penalty in the 66th minute with the score at 0-0, players and staff from both teams shoved one another.

The Russian players then left the pitch, later followed by the Montenegrin team. A stadium announcement said the match would not resume. It was not immediately clear whether Russia would be awarded a victory.

The match had previously been suspended for 30 minutes after Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit by a flare thrown from the stands.

Akinfeev was struck on the head by the flare approximately 20 seconds after kickoff and was carried off the pitch on a stretcher.

He was taken to the local hospital in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, wearing a neck brace. UEFA doctor Slobo Mandic went with Akinfeev to the hospital and said the goalkeeper was conscious.

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”I hope he will be fine,” Mandic said, adding that the brace was put on as a precaution.

Miljan Zindovic, an emergency care doctor at Podgorica hospital, said Akinfeev was brought to the hospital with a neck injury and minor burns. An examination determined he had no major injuries, but the goalkeeper would remain under observation in the hospital for ”a few hours,” Zindovic said.

Following the attack, the match was suspended and the players were led off the field. Approximately 30 minutes after the incident, play was resumed.

Akinfeev was replaced by substitute goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin.

The flare struck Akinfeev from behind shortly after kickoff, having been thrown from a sector of the stadium occupied by Montenegro’s hardcore supporters. The goalkeeper collapsed to the ground and was treated immediately by medical staff.

Russia and Montenegro are third and fourth respectively in Group G, both with five points from four games.

It is the first time that Russia and Montenegro have played against each another.

It is not the first case of severe crowd trouble during a Euro 2016 qualifier. Last year, a match between Serbia and Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political banner was flown into the stadium.

A Serbia player pulled the banner down and Albanian players tried to protect it. In the resulting disorder, Serbian fans attacked Albania players. Both teams were punished over the incident.