Angry Partizan Belgrade fans
pelted coach Avram Grant with lighters on Saturday and chanted
his predecessor's name after the former Chelsea manager failed
to get a first win after his second game in charge.
There was more serious crowd trouble across the Serbian
capital when Rad Belgrade and visiting Novi Pazar fans threw
rocks and flares at each other, forcing riot police to move in
and delay the second half for 10 minutes.
Serbian champions Partizan, chasing a record fifth
successive league title, saw their lead at the top of the
16-team first division cut to six points after a 0-0 draw
against visiting Sloboda Sevojno.
But it was the behaviour of the fans, who called for Grant
to be sacked and Aleksandar Stanojevic to return, that left the
Israeli fuming rather than his team's tepid performance.
"Football is a game of goals and we failed to score but the
players put in a great deal of effort and the fans should learn
to respect that," Grant told reporters with a grim expression on
his face after the final whistle.
"I don't think it was a mistake to start with just one
player up front because we created plenty of chances, all big
teams play with a solitary striker these days," he added.
Partizan had been held to a 1-1 draw at struggling newcomers
Novi Pazar in Grant's first game in charge.
Closest rivals Red Star Belgrade took full advantage after
coming from behind to earn a 3-1 win at Javor Ivanjica on
Saturday and give their fans a boost ahead of the first leg of
the domestic cup semi-final against Partizan on March 21.
Nigerian striker Obiora Odita gave Javor an early lead
before Brazilian midfielder Evandro, Luka Milunovic and left
back Filip Mladenovic turned the match on its head.
Fireworks and fighting were restricted to the terraces at
Rad Belgrade's ramshackle ground, where rival fans scuffled
before the kick-off and started a riot at half-time.
The trouble began after fans from Novi Pazar, a southern
Serbian region populated mainly by Muslim Slavs, brandished a
Riot police moved in to create a buffer zone
between rival fans and there were no more problems.
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