Football: Polish fans fined for fighting each other before Euro qualifier, team beat North Macedonia for 3rd win

Poland's Robert Lewandowski (left) dribbling the ball as North Macedonia's Enis Bardhi tries to tackle him, during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Skopje, North Macedonia, on June 7, 2019.
Poland's Robert Lewandowski (left) dribbling the ball as North Macedonia's Enis Bardhi tries to tackle him, during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Skopje, North Macedonia, on June 7, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

SKOPJE, NORTH MACEDONIA (AFP, REUTERS) - More than 200 Polish football fans were handed fines for public order offences for fighting each other in Skopjie ahead of Friday's Euro 2020 qualifier against North Macedonia, a court said.

"The 234 Polish nationals, involved in a massive fight in the centre of Skopje, were not convicted in North Macedonia so Poland considered it as mitigating factor. They were sentenced to a pay a fine of €150 (S$232) each," the court announced on Sunday (June 9).

The clash took place in a park near the Tose Proeski Arena, where Poland edged out North Macedonia 1-0 to remain unbeaten in their campaign.

Elsewhere, a further 60 Polish citizens were arrested on Friday and Saturday for other incidents including vandalism but are still waiting to be questioned.

On the field, Poland earned their third win in three games, while Israel beat Latvia 3-0 thanks to an Eran Zahavi hat-trick.

Poland substitute Krzysztof Piatek got the winner with an overhead kick from a corner two minutes into the second half in Skopje, with the visitors having dominated the first period but managing only one shot on target.

North Macedonia had won their previous six home games, scoring 19 goals. Poland are on nine points, two ahead of Israel, in second place after Zahavi's superb performance earned them a comfortable victory in Latvia.

The top scorer of the qualifying phase curled in a fine free kick after 10 minutes and added another on the hour. He completed his second hat-trick in a row in the 81st to take his tally to seven goals in Israel's three qualifiers.

Zahavi had also got three in a 4-2 win over Austria in March.

The Austrians earned their first points by beating Slovenia 1-0 thanks to Guido Burgstaller's 74th-minute winner. He scored on the rebound after Marco Arnautovic's effort was saved.

Austria are fourth on three points, one ahead of Slovenia and one behind third-placed North Macedonia.