Forty-one minutes in to yesterday’s Serbia-Albania European Championship qualifying match, a drone carrying an Albanian flag flew into the stadium and halted play. The bizarre happening escalated already-high tensions between the two countries, which are embroiled in a fierce conflict over Kosovo’s status.
As a precaution, no Albania fans were allowed to even attend the match.
Things came to a boil when Serbian player Stefan Mitrovic ripped the flag down in a not-so-gentle manner, emptying the benches and creating a scary situation.
Referee Martin Atkinson eventually halted the game with the scored tied 0-0.
“What happened is something we can’t comprehend at the moment,” Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic told reporters.
“On behalf of my team, all I can say is that we wanted to carry on and that we shielded the Albanian players every step of the way to the tunnel (after the riot broke out).
“The Albanian team said they were unfit physically and mentally to carry on after talking to the officials and they will now decide the fate of this match.
“We can only regret that football took a back seat but it is difficult to draw any conclusions or make any comments now.”
There’s no indication the match will be resumed.
Drones, man. The havoc-creating streakers of the future.