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Nov 17, 2012

Fans throw firecrackers; match stopped

The referee stopped a Russian Premier League match Saturday after fans threw firecrackers on the pitch, injuring a goalkeeper.

The game between Dynamo Moscow and second-placed Zenit St. Petersburg was abandoned after 36 minutes when Dynamo keeper Anton Shunin was hit by a missile thrown from a stand housing away fans.

With Dynamo leading 1-0 after Vladimir Granat's 27th-minute goal, Shunin suffered burns and smoke irritation after the pyrotechnic device exploded near him.

The result will be decided by the country's football association, with Premier League executive director Sergei Cheban telling Russian television: "It's the prerogative of the disciplinary committee and they'll make a decision."

He added: "A football pitch isn't a war zone."

The 25-year-old Shunin said on Dynamo's official Twitter feed: "Something fell, I looked down and then the firecracker exploded in my face. I've got problems with my vision and hearing. I'm going to hospital for an examination."

Dynamo doctor Alexander Rezelov added: "Anton has received a burn to the cornea, one eye sees poorly."

A statement on Zenit's website read: "We respectfully regret the health of one of the country's best goalkeepers, a national team keeper, has been placed under threat because of the obvious stupidity and irresponsibility of people in the stadium.

"We wish Anton Shunin a speedy return to the squad and will do everything possible so that the culprits receive their deserved punishment."

Zenit's supporters club also issued a statement, which read: "We condemn the act of the person who threw a pyrotechnic from the away stand. We regard it as the unacceptable act of a provocateur or idiot."

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