European Qualifiers: Serbia and Albania await UEFA probe after abandoned match in Belgrade

Serbia's and Albania players scuffle over a flag with Albanian national symbols pulled down by Serbia's defender Stefan Mitrovic (3rd R) from a drone
Image: Serbia's and Albania players scuffle over a flag with Albanian national symbols

Serbia and Albania are both facing the possibility of being sanctioned by UEFA after their European Qualifier was abandoned following a brawl between players from both sides.

The Group I encounter in Belgrade, which went ahead despite long-standing political tensions between the two nations, was initially halted just before half-time by a drone trailing a pro-Albania banner hovering over the Partizan Stadium pitch.

However, the incident erupted after Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic brought down the flag, which seemed to upset a number of Albanian players and a melee involving some players from both sets of teams occurred.

Serbia v Albania: What happens next?

It forced English referee Martin Atkinson to lead the teams off the field, as disruption in the stands threatened to boil over, with objects being thrown onto the pitch at Albanian players in the wake of the chaos.

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UEFA is likely to take a dim view of the controversial incident and match delegate Hari Bin confirmed the governing body will investigate what happened in Belgrade.

Quoted by Serbian media, including the popular Sportske website, he said: "You saw what happened and at this point I cannot speculate further as to who was responsible and accountable. UEFA will take further steps on the basis of the official report."

Albania supporters had been banned from the match which was set against a backdrop of tight security and was the country’s first in Belgrade since 1967

Tensions have never been far from the surface between the nations over Kosovo, the province with which both countries share a disputed border and is recognised as independent by the United States and major European Union countries but not by Serbia - a bone of contention with Albania.

The tie was goalless at the time of the suspension and clear-cut chances were in short supply in the Serbian capital.

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