Skip to main content

Albania-Poland clash halted as fans target players with plastic bottles

Albania Poland WCup 2022 Soccer
(Image credit: Franc Zhurda)

Albania’s World Cup qualifier against Poland was temporarily suspended after home supporters threw objects at opposition players celebrating the opening goal in Tirana.

Karol Swiderski gave the Poles a 1-0 lead with 13 minutes of the Group I encounter remaining before he and his team-mates were pelted with plastic drinks bottles from the stands.

Players left the pitch for more than 20 minutes following the incident at the Air Albania Stadium.

Poland players were targeted as they celebrated their opening goal

Poland players were targeted as they celebrated their opening goal (Franc Zhurda/AP).

Poland held on to their slender advantage when play resumed to climb above their hosts and move three points behind group leaders England in the race to reach next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Before the incident which prompted the lengthy delay, Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski was also targeted with an object from the crowd.

Albania, who are bidding to reach a World Cup finals for the first time, travel to Wembley to face Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions next month, prior to completing their campaign at home to Andorra.

A forgettable night on and off the pitch for the home side leaves them five points adrift of England and two behind Poland, with the play-offs appearing to be their only realistic hope of qualifying.