Friday’s Euro 2016 Qualifier between Montenegro and Russia was abandoned after Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck by a flare thrown from the crowd.
The teams brawled on the pitch and Uefa officials are expected to open disciplinary proceedings, while Montenegro FA General Secretary Momir Djurdjevac labelled the incident ‘a disaster’ and his country’s fans ‘barbarians’.
Despite the shock of the incident reverberating around world football, this is not the first scandal caused by fan trouble in an international fixture.
Below is a list of FIVE other outrageous incidents bringing shame to the international football stage and leading to match abandonment (one even involves our own nation’s fans):
Serbia Vs Albania (Euro 2016 Qualifier 14th October 2014)
Another recent Eastern European affair, this Euro 2016 qualifier was unique as it featured a hovering drone that led to the match’s abandonment. The remote controlled drone held a flag displaying the symbol of Greater Albania, in protest to Kosovo’s independence. This caused outrage amongst the home fans, who clashed with riot police, and the violence led to the players leaving the pitch and the game eventually being called off.
Italy Vs Serbia (Euro 2012 Qualifier 12th October 2010)
This fixture lasted only seven minutes as Serbian fans clashed with police outside the ground and threw flares onto the pitch and at the home fans. The game in Genoa was preceded by an attack on the Serbian team’s bus by their own fans, apparently trying to get to goalkeeper Stoijkovic, who had angered Red Star Belgrade fans by moving on loan to rival club Partizan.
Denmark Vs Sweden (Euro 2008 Qualifier 2nd June 2007)
Chaos occurred in the 89th minute at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen after a fan ran onto the pitch and attacked referee Herbert Fandel. The Danish fan grabbed Fandel by the throat after he had sent off defender Christain Poulsen for punching Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg in the stomach. The referee then led both teams off the pitch, and subsequently awarded a 3-0 victory to Sweden. A small pitch invasion took place following the events.
France vs Algeria (Friendly 8th October 2001)
A friendly game at the Stade de France that was supposed to unify the supporters of both countries with France being home to many black and North African communities. Instead, the game turned ugly when dozens of Algerian fans invaded the pitch, which led to the cancellation of play. The French national anthem was also booed by its own fans and Lilian Thuram was ‘infurated’ by the crowds’ actions.
Republic of Ireland Vs England (Friendly 15th February 1995)
The infamous Lansdown Road football riot that evoked scenes of violence from the dark days of the 70s and 80s in English football. The riot was led by Neo-Nazi group Combat 18, who taunted Irish fans with Nazi salutes during the Irish national anthem. After having a goal disallowed, English fans threw chairs and missles into the lower stands, causing fans to spill onto the pitch. After the players and staff left the pitch the English fans were held at the ground by the Irish police, causing rioting leading to 20 injuries and 40 arrests. The incident brought returned shame on English football fans, with the Nazi salute becoming symbolic for hooliganism.