Flare endangers referee as Maribor, Spartak draw 1-1

Spartak supporters light a flare during the Champions League soccer match between Maribor and Spartak Moskva at the Ljudski vrt stadium, in Maribor, Slovenia, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP) A Champions League referee narrowly escaped being hit by a flare on Wednesday as Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Maribor.

The nautical-style flare was fired from a sector packed with Spartak fans after around 15 minutes, with the score at 0-0.

It flew over the pitch and landed in the center, near German referee Deniz Aytekin, who briefly stopped the Group E game. It resumed shortly after.

Alexander Samedov scored on a rebound in the 59th minute as Spartak returned to the Champions League after a five-year absence.

Samedov had come on as a substitute in the 29th after the Russian club’s captain Denis Glushakov asked to be taken off with an apparent injury.

Maribor salvaged a draw in the 85th as Damjan Bohar curled a shot past Artyom Rebrov.

Liverpool drew 2-2 in the other game in Group E.