One of the biggest European matches in Rijeka’s history was partly overshadowed by the behavior of their fan group.
A.C. Milan and Rijeka faced each other at San Siro last night for a spectacle Rijeka will remember forever. While the Croatian champion lost 2:3 to the Italian side in their second round Europa League match, an incredible comeback by Rijeka in the last minutes of regulation time had fans clinching onto hope that standing equal to this Italian giant was possible. But maybe the Rijeka fans got a little too excited, reports Gol.hr on September 29, 2017.
One of the most exciting European matches in the club’s history, about 5,000 Rijeka fans and sympathizers traveled to San Siro this week. Armada, Rijeka’s fan group, was joined by many fans from Kvarner who spent the entire day of the match together celebrating in the center of Milan.
While there were some minor incidents Italian police were forced to handle due to the unexpected number of Croatian fans, the larger groups of supporters were surrounded by police to avoid any conflict with domestic fans. This ultimately triggered the reaction of Armada who threw flares and firecrackers, forcing the Italian police to respond with tear gas and batons.
But the worst happened at the stadium itself.
Unfortunately, Milan does not remember Croatian fans well. If we want to take a walk down memory lane, we can remember the unpleasant scenes at Piazza Duomo when Dinamo visited the city, the invasion of Hajduk fans at the match with Inter a few years ago, and the interruption of the game between Italy and Croatia.
Once again, football fans in Milan have yet another not so pleasant memory to add to their black book of Croatian fans, and this time, by Rijeka’s fan group Armada.
Towards the end of the match, flares and other pyrotechnics in Armada’s demonstration fell on the tribune of the Milan home fans, and particularly on the family tribune where many women and children were seated (behind the north goal, Milan’s fan club sits behind the south goal). Many domestic fans started to scatter as soon as they saw the flares, while others watched the flares fly onto the pitch. The referee was forced to interrupt the match.
— Graeme Murray (@GMur7) September 28, 2017
To make matters worse, Milan scored the winning goal after the referee called the game to a halt. Milan took home three points with a 3:2 victory.
After having to close their north stands during the match against AEK, Rijeka now expects a new UEFA penalty. Let’s hope they will only be hit with a cash fine.
Translated from Gol.hr