VIDEO: Liverpool, Chelsea stars caught up in fracas that sees Serbia-Albania abandoned


Manchester City and Southampton players also tried to diffuse the situation as Serbia faced Albania in European Championship qualifier.

A political message carried by a drone incited both Serbian and Albania teams in a European Championship qualifying match in Belgrade, including Chelsea and Liverpool players, to clash with fans on Tuesday, leading to the abandonment of the match.

An Albanian flag with a message relating to Kosovo, a Serbian province that has declared independence despite Serbia refusing to recognise such a move, was snatched by Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic, who attempted to carry it from the pitch. Albanian players then sought to take it themselves, leading to home fans rushing the pitch and escalating the situation. No away fans were allowed in the stadium.

Play was stopped at 0-0 in the 41st minute, with English official Martin Atkinson, who was refereeing the game, deciding 30 minutes later that the game should be abandoned.

Several Premier League players were present during the ruckus, though the majority of those involved seemed to be trying to diffuse the situation.

Liverpool's Lazar Markovic was injured for the game but fit enough to make it on to the pitch to break up a scuffle that started between Albanian players and some of the Serbian crowd.

The former Benfica man, as well as Manchester City's Aleksander Kolarov and Southampton's Dusan Tadic all sprinted to meet their own supporters to put a stop to any further escalation in what was already a hugely dangerous and charged situation.

Chelsea duo Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic were also on the pitch for Serbia, with the later captaining his country and apparently gesturing to Atkinson that both sides should head to the dressing room.

Fairly soon afterwards, the Albanian players did indeed leave the pitch, though once again came under fire from the home supporters, with the likes of Kolarov again trying to calm down the fans.

Albania captain and former Sunderland player Lorik Cana later said his side were not in the right frame of mind to return to the pitch, leading to it being abandoned.

Uefa have already announced that both the Serbian and Albanian football associations are being charged for violent conduct, with the visitors charged with "refusing to play" and the "display of an illicit banner", while Serbia must face five charges relating to crowd trouble.

Uefa's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will address the case on 23 October.

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