Football: Russia qualifier abandoned after goalkeeper hit by flare, other missiles thrown from stands

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AFP) - The Euro 2016 qualifier between Montenegro and Russia in Podgorica on Saturday was abandoned with the score at 0-0 after trouble forced the German referee to stop play on two separate occasions.

Referee Deniz Aytekin first stopped play for around half an hour after visiting goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck by a flare and eventually abandoned the match altogether after more missiles were thrown from the stand in the second half.

Akinfeev, 28, was hit on the right shoulder by a flare thrown from behind the goal at the Gradski Stadion just moments after the start of the qualifying Group G fixture.

The CSKA Moscow goalkeeper was stretchered off and taken to hospital as a precaution, while Aytekin ordered the players off the pitch and called a halt to the match.

Uefa doctor Slobo Mandic went with Akinfeev and said the goalkeeper was conscious.

A Montenegrin supporter in the crowd apologised through a loudspeaker at the stadium and said the "hooligan" who had thrown the flare had been identified.

The game eventually got under way again, with Akinfeev's place on the field taken by Yuri Lodygin.

However, the second period only started after another long delay and there was another flashpoint when Russia were awarded a penalty in the 66th minute, much to the dismay of the home side.

Russia captain Roman Shirokov's penalty was saved by home goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic and a brawl between rival players and benches followed.

And when an object thrown from the crowd struck one of the Russian players, the referee decided to abandon the contest altogether.

It remains to be seen how Uefa will react to the trouble, although they could opt to award Russia a 3-0 victory, with Montenegro in danger of facing further punishment.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.