Albania vs Poland: fans’ missiles forced FIFA World Cup to a halt for 20 minutes

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Albania vs Poland World Cup qualification match was disrupted for 20 minutes when Albania fans fired missiles to the pitch. The game took place at Arena Komb√ętare in Albania on Tuesday night, October 12, 2021.

The qualification game was going on smoothly until the 77th minute when Poland’s Karol Swiderski scored the only goal of the match with 13 minutes left to play.

Before the goal, the Albania team enjoyed possession of the ball, especially in the first half. Both teams had opportunities to score but failed to convert their chances.

Though Poland needed a victory in the game to continue to compete with England for the first spot of the World Cup qualification Group I, Albania needed a win to keep their hope of qualifying for the World Cup more alive.

The host country have suffered two defeats before their meeting with Poland. Hence, it was supposed to be a win or nothing for Albania.

Since it looked like the Albania players would not be able to get the win against Poland, their supporters at the stadium decided to take the law into their hands by throwing plastic bottles at the Polish players.

Albania vs Poland World Cup qualification match was put on hold for 20 minutes after Albania fans threw plastic bottles to the pitch.
Albania vs Poland World Cup qualification match was put on hold for 20 minutes after Albania fans threw plastic bottles to the pitch.

The plastic bottles were landing everywhere on the pitch and on the Polish players so uncontrollable that Poland’s captain Robert Lewandowski had to walk off from the pitch.

His teammates followed suit as the referee temporarily put the game on hold due to the intensity of the attack from the Albania fans.

After about 20 minutes when the situation has been put under control and the pitch has been cleared, the two teams were allowed to return to the pitch to finish the game.

After the crowd trouble and the 20 minutes unplanned break, the two teams could not make any difference with the 13 minutes left in the game. Hence, the game ended 0-1 in favor of Poland.

The win took Poland second in Group I with 17 points in 8 games, three points away from first placed England. While Albania made do with the third spot with 15 points in 8 games.

After the win, Lewandowski said: “After the goal full bottles were flying in, so it was a bit dangerous, but we came back and finished the game.”

Albania vs Poland: fans' missiles forced FIFA World Cup to a halt for 20 minutes
Robert Lewandowski was furious after plastic bottles were fired on his teammates on Tuesday.

The same crowd trouble happened at Wembley Stadium during the Group I World Cup qualification match between England and Hungary. However, the incident at Wembley Stadium did not lead to the disruption of the game.

In a statement issued by FIFA on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, the world football governing body said it would determine the appropriate punishment after it analyzes the reports from Albania vs Poland and England vs Hungary games.

“FIFA is currently analyzing reports of last night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier matches to determine the most appropriate action,” the statement read.

“FIFA strongly condemns the incidents at England vs Hungary and Albania vs Poland and would like to state that its position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of violence as well as any form of discrimination or abuse. FIFA has a very clear zero-tolerance stance against such abhorrent behavior in football.”