A mere five minutes into the second half, a group of hooligans that consistently lit (and threw) pyrotechnics forced referee Timur Arslanbekov to make a difficult decision. He he had to stop the game not once, and not even twice during the match after numerous projectiles - as well as a thick fog - marred the pitch.
A fairly calm ten minutes marked the start of an eventful half - and the only full half - of First Division club Torpedo Moscow's match against current Premier League underdogs Dynamo Moscow in the 1/16th of the Russia Cup. The guests created more chances and looked to be the favorites of the match, despite Torpedo's dignified and at times tactful game. Former Salzburg striker Jakob Jantscher was active from the get-go, finding space on the right side of the box. Dynamo's Kevin Kuranyi made a run and had a nice shot that unfortunately went in behind the net. The guest team's captain, Igor Semshov, nearly opened the score himself, but Torpedo's keeper, 25-year-old Aleksandr Dovbynya, went in for a brilliant one-handed save. The guests got quite a few set pieces as well and made great use of them. In fact, Dynamo's two goals both came from Jantscher's corner kick deliveries. Defender Vladimir Rykov scored a double, getting in two headers from the corners. Right after his first goal and a save by Dovbynya, the referee called for a timeout as fans began to light the pyrotechnics. The match resumed shortly after, only to be cut short for another minute as buckets of water were used to put out the flares. The crowds appeared to have calmed down as the home team created some danger near the net. There was some hesitation with the final shot, and Dynamo keeper Roman Berezovsky was right on the ball. Though possession was swaying a bit in favor of the home team, their opportunities were slim. An offside call disallowed Jantscher's goal right before the referee paused the game for a third time after a petard flew right onto the pitch. The ref had lost some of his patience, and the teams took a longer break. Torpedo's captain Boyarintsev signaled for his teammates to head out of the pitch as he addressed the crowds together with Dynamo's skipper Igor Semshov.
|Hooligans light pyrotechnics during the game. Photo: © РИА Новости. Антон Денисов.|
The home team was motivated as ever at the start of what looked to be an exciting second half. Their skipper missed another goal-scoring moment, sending the ball wide of the left post. Berezovsky came through for Dynamo with a very difficult save, while a defender cleared the ball from the goal line just as it appeared to be going in. A Torpedo player thought that the ball went in, but the referee was convinced that it hadn't. Even the replay shown on TV channel Russia-2 was difficult to decipher - from one angle, most of the ball appeared to have crossed the line, while other vantage points showed otherwise. Torpedo's skipper finally scored for his team after a long pass into the box, though Berezovsky had almost reached the ball to make the save. This time it was Boyarintsev who took the ball and stopped the game after more and more petards filled the pitch with smoke. The skipper repeatedly addressed his supporters, but his requests to cease the throwing and igniting of projecticles were ultimately ignored.
|Denis Boyarintsev addresses the supporters.|
|Igor Semshov addresses the supporters.|
The referee stopped the game once again, this time for good.
Commentators ruled out a false assumption that the actions of the hooligans were aimed at Dynamo skipper and midfielder Igor Semshov, who had a 7-year spell at Torpedo earlier in his career, scoring 54 goals in 216 games. Most likely, the hooligans were targetting their own club, as they have recently shown their growing displeasure at the management. Chanting "Руководство –- вон" ("Management - out"), the hooligans made obvious their real target audience.
After minutes of anxious waiting, a message on the intercom announced the end of the match, met by booing from the stands.
Earlier on, over 100 fans, about 50 each from both teams, started a massive brawl outside the stadium.
What's even more disgraceful is that even after both teams left the field, a group of journalists almost got hit by pyrotechnics that were thrown onto the pitch.
I neglect to call these persons "supporters" because no true fan of any team would ever do such a thing. Regardless of who they were targetting, the actions of these individuals had a negative impact on both sides. Furthermore, the instigators financially damaged the home team, which is barely scrambling enough money from its sponsers as it is.
The actions of the hooligans are a disgrace to both teams and perhaps even more so to the honored name of the stadium that hosted this game.
No matter what actions the local police will choose to take, it won't erase the fact that a beautiful game was over all too soon.
Whether either team will continue in the Cup remains undecided, though the likelihood of the Eduard Streltsov stadium being disqualified at this rate is pretty high.
GoalChatter will be on the lookout and will report the final decision regarding the Torpedo vs. Dynamo match in the 1/16th of the Russia Cup.
Russia Cup - 1/16
Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 11:00AM EST
FC Torpedo Moscow vs. FC Dynamo Moscow - 1:2* (0:2)
* MATCH SUSPENDED
Arena: Eduard Streltsov Stadium (Moscow)
Referee: Timur Arslanbekov (Moscow)
0:1 Vladimir Rykov (Asst. Jakob Jantscher) ('17)
0:2 Vladimir Rykov (Asst. Jakob Jantscher) ('32)
1:2 Denis Boyarintsev ('50)