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Oct 13, 2005

Six fans seriously injured in Belgrade violence - report

BELGRADE, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Six fans were seriously injured during Wednesday's World Cup qualifier between Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to a Belgrade hospital official.

"A total of 17 fans, six of them seriously, were injured but none of them are in critical condition," director of the Anlave clinic Slobodan Ivanovic was quoted as saying by Belgrade's B92 website.

Ivanovic said one of the fans had lost a finger and another suffered a fractured nose. Others were concussed and sustained cuts and bruises at a match marred by sporadic violence among the 55,000 crowd.

The home supporters and a tiny contingent of Bosnian fans pelted each other with seats and flares during the politically-charged qualifier, forcing riot police to move in and create large buffer zones.

The legacy of the bloody 1992-95 Bosnian war lingered in the air throughout the match in the first meeting in the Serb capital between the two teams.

Police outnumbered the several hundred visiting fans in the reverse fixture in Sarajevo last October when the trouble was confined to verbal insults.

Serbia won 1-0 on Wednesday, an early goal from striker Mateja Kezman clinching Group Seven and automatic qualification for next year's World Cup finals in Germany.

Bosnia finished third behind runners-up Spain, who trounced San Marino 6-0 to secure a playoff berth.

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