Italy's qualifier against Serbia is abandoned after visiting fans wreak havoc in Genova

Posted 1:29 PM by crkota in Labels: ,

Italy's European Championship qualifier against Serbia was dramatically abandoned in Genova after the visiting fans threw flares onto the pitch and lighting fireworks.

The teams came out and began to line up for the national anthems but then were sent back into the changing rooms as police in riot gear came out to confront the fans.

Serbian supporters clashed earlier in the day with police and glass partitions were broken in the stadium as fans with their heads covered climbed up onto them and began cutting through a mesh fence with tools.

The teams eventually came back out and began warming up again but there was no immediate sign that the game would begin.

'We just had a meeting with the UEFA delegate, the Serbian police and our police to see if we can play but it seems very doubtful,' said Italian football federation general director Antonello Valentini, speaking to Italian broadcasters RAI.

Even before the delay, Serbia's No 1 goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic is understood to have pleaded with officials to be dropped following threats outside his hotel earlier.

At one point, the Serbia squad walked over and appeared to applaud their fans ironically and ask them to calm down.

'We didn't applaud, we calmed down the fans,' said Serbia captain Dejan Stankovic.
The unsavory incident sours a week to forget for Serbia following the 3-1 home defeat to Estonia on Friday.

That match marked the debut of new coach Vladimir Petrovic, who replaced sacked Radomir Antic after last month's 1-1 Group C draw at home with Slovenia, which only added to a crisis that began with a disappointing first-round exit from the World Cup.

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