MOSCOW, November 22 (R-Sport) - Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov broke ranks Wednesday to say he accepted his club’s punishment over a flare-throwing incident despite Zenit vowing to appeal.
Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin was briefly hospitalized with eye injuries when a flare thrown from the Zenit end exploded near him. The match was abandoned and Dynamo awarded a technical 3-0 win Wednesday.
Reigning champions Zenit have been ordered to play two home games behind closed doors, and general director Maxim Mitrofanov immediately said the team would appeal.
Fans have also been banned from Dynamo's next home game, and both teams have received small fines.
“The regulations need to be changed, but under the regulations that there are, the decision is appropriate,” Shirokov told R-Sport.
His Zenit teammate Sergei Semak told R-Sport he would have preferred a more sporting solution to the dispute.
“It’s an unjust decision. A fair one would have been to play the match to end at a neutral ground without spectators,” he said.
“The regulations need to be changed if they don’t reflect sporting spirit and the interests of the teams, the players and the spectators.”
Dynamo striker Alexander Kokorin reveled in his team’s newfound three points.
“Congratulations on the win everyone. You can win a game on 35 minutes too,” he said on Twitter, referring to the time the game was stopped.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).