Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Video: Italy v Serbia Euro 2012 qualifying match abandoned after violence

Serbia supporters riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy

Italy's Euro 2012 Group C qualifier against Serbia was abondoned last night after just six minutes had been played due to crowd disturbances.

The game at Genoa's Luigi Ferraris stadium was delayed for 35 minutes after a section of Serbian fans threw fire crackers and flares in the direction of the north stand where Italian supporters were seated, and onto the pitch.

Serbian players, led by Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, urged their fans to calm down as families began to make their way towards the exit.

Once order was restored, a minute's silence was observed in memory of four Italian soldier killed in Afghanistan on Saturday.

The game started but it was not long before Scottish referee Craig Thomson stopped play after a Serbian fan threw a flare onto the pitch, which narrowly missed Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

After a delay, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said: "The game will not be played. I've never seen anything like it."

Serbia went into the game on the back of a 3-1 home defeat to Estonia on Friday. Coach Vladimir Petrovic was taking charge of his first game ahving replaced Radomir Antic since that loss.

To some it was unclear if Stankovic and his teammates had done their best to calm down those that were causing trouble.

"We tried to calm our fans, we didn't applaud them," said captain Stankovic.

Viviano said it was not possible to resume playing.

"It was impossible to have played in that goal," he said. "I would have had to constantly turn around to make sure that no flare hit me."

The 1600 Serbian fans were kept in the stadium under police surveillance as the Italian supporters left the stands.