Zenit St Petersburg are
set to face UEFA sanctions following crowd trouble during
Wednesday's Champions League game against APOEL Nicosia.
German referee Felix Brych twice halted the Group G match
for several minutes - first late in the first half and again
shortly after the interval - after home fans lit flares and the
pitch became enveloped with heavy smoke.
On Thursday Zenit issued a harshly-worded statement to
explain the situation.
"Zenit consider unacceptable a situation when actions of
some individual supporters have a negative effect on the course
of a game and could lead to heavy disciplinary sanctions
including a forfeit," the Russian champions said on their
Zenit said, following an agreement between the club and
police, searches on fans entering the stadium were less thorough
than usual because of cold weather.
"In the next few days the club and police, with the help of
UEFA and the Russian FA, will conduct an investigation and will
issue much tougher rules in regards to searches of fans before
entering the stadium," the club added.
European football's governing body said they would make a
decision on the incident in the next few days.
"We're in a process of collecting information in relation to
the events at the game and when we have all the facts we will
make a decision," a UEFA spokesman said.
Zenit midfielder Roman Shirokov called the home fans "real
idiots" after they ignored his pleas to stop their fireworks.
"They are real idiots, what else can you say?" the outspoken
Russia international told reporters. Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav
Malafeyev said the incident had disrupted the his team's flow
and had cost them victory.
APOEL held Zenit to a 0-0 draw to become the first team from
Cyprus to reach the knockout round of Europe's premier club
Zenit are second in the group and will guarantee
progress to the last 16 if they draw with or beat Porto in their
final group game in Portugal next month.
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