Zenit-Dynamo match of the Russian soccer premier league canceled because of rioting

The central match of the 29th tournament of the Russian Football Premier League between Zenit and Dynamo, which stopped on the 87th minute because of rioting at the Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg, will not continue, according to an announcement made at the stadium.

With the score at 4:2 in favor of the Moscow team, several hundred Zenit fans first broke into an area behind the goalpost and then onto the pitch. Referee Sergei Ivanov took the players away to the changing rooms.

A while later the fans returned to their seats.

It also emerged that a Zenit fan beat up Dynamo player Vladimir Granat.

Granat is currently lying at the guest team's changing room, complaining about dizziness, according to a commentator on the NTV Plus television channel which broadcast the game.

Asked whether the match will resume, the Dynamo head coach Stanislav Cherchesov said he could not guarantee Granat's return to the pitch.

"If you were hit, would you like to return? When a football player is hit in the face several times, how can I force his to return to the pitch? Let them decide," Cherchesov said.

The Russian Premier League's Security Director, Alexander Meitin, said for his part: "Watching the match on television … Speechless. We shall investigate. So far we are gathering information. Horrible story."

Meanwhile, the 87th minute stop was not the first one during this game. On the 73rd minute after Dynamo scored the fourth goal fans lit up a large number of smoke grenades, thus significantly reducing visibility at the stadium.

The decision whether to leave the score at 4:2 or give the hosts a technical defeat will be made later. Zenit is facing a fine of between 100,000 and 500,000 rubles and holding between one and five matches either on a neutral pitch or without spectators (Clause 101 of the Russian Football Union's disciplinary regulations).

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