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BELGRADE, April 28. /TASS/. A Montenegrin football fan, who injured Russian national team’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev after hurling a flare at him during the 2016 UEFA Euro Cup qualifier in Podgorica on March 27, has been sent to prison for three and a half months, local news web portal vijesti.me reported on Tuesday.
Luka Lazarevic, a resident of Podgorica, was also ordered by court to pay a fine of 750 euros ($818).
"When the game started someone lit a flare and dropped close to myself. I instinctively threw it away in the direction of the field in order not to burn myself and the people around me. Unfortunately, the flare hit the goalkeeper who at that moment started running to the middle of the field in the neck. I myself was shocked by what I had done. I would have helped him if I could have descended to the field," Lazarevic said.
The Russian goalkeeper sustained severe injuries, particularly concussion and burns to the neck, after Lazarevic’s flare struck him. The national team’s player was carried away on stretchers and the referee had to take both teams off the pitch for about 30 minutes.
Akinfeyev was taken to a hospital in Podgorica and after a while the referee ruled that the match should resume.
The incident involving the Russian goalkeeper and the Montenegrin football fan occurred only seconds after the kick-off. The resumed match, however, was eventually terminated in the 68th minute with no goals scored by either side after an object was cast from the spectators’ stands at Russian defender Dmitry Kombarov.
On April 8, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body handed the 0-3 technical defeat to the national football team of Montenegro for the incident in the qualifier against Russia, ordered the Montenegrin team to play next two home matches in front of the empty stadiums and impose a financial fine.
"The Football Association of Montenegro (FSCG) is deemed to have lost the game 3-0," UEFA said in its statement. "In addition, the FSCG has been ordered to play its next two UEFA competition matches as host association behind closed doors."
"The second match to be played behind closed doors is deferred for a probationary period of two years," the statement said. "Finally, the association has been fined 50,000 euros."
UEFA also ruled to impose a fine of 25,000 euros (some $27,150) on the Russian Football Union (RFU) for the national team’s "improper conduct of supporters" during the match in Podgorica.
Russia’s head coach Fabio Capello said commenting on the match that the game should have been halted instantly after the first major incident that followed seconds after kickoff.
He explained that was precisely the kind of decision he and all players had been waiting for. Play should have been discontinued at once, he added.
Russia held the third place in its Group G of the 2016 Euro Cup qualifiers with five points after four matches played before the encounter with Montenegro. The national team was ranked behind Austria (10 points/ and Sweden (6 points). Montenegro’s national squad also had five points after four qualifiers played.
The Russian national team started with 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein in September, had two 1-1 draws in October against Sweden and Moldova and lost to the Austrian side 0-1 in November.
Russia's March 27 match in Podgorica was its 300th competitive fixture - including games as the Soviet Union. The team’s previous 299 UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup matches ended with the record of 170 won, 66 drawn and 63 lost.