UEFA Europa League 2016/17 : Zorya fans throw smoke bomb at Manchester United keeper Sergio Romero
Manchester United’s reserve goalkeeper, Sergio Romero narrowly escaped serious injury against Zorya Luhansk in their UEFA Europa League clash. The fans behind the goal that Zorya were shooting at threw some fireworks aimed in the Argentinian’s direction, with a loud flash and bang clearly visible and audible on the television coverage.
With the ball deep in United’s half around the half-hour mark, the Zorya fans threw what looked like a smoke bomb aimed at Romero. The goalkeeper, however was prowling another are of his box, but the bomb was as dangerous and loud enough for Romero to cover up his ears instinctively as it landed in the penalty box, mere feet from him.
The referee immediately called for a stop in play, checking with Romero to see if he was okay, with the Argentinian nodding his approval after taking a couple of moments to collect himself. Meanwhile, there was plenty of crowd trouble of another form as well, with Daley Blind going up to the referee to complain about laser pens, which were catching the United players in the eyes.
Zorya will likely face disciplinary action from UEFA, who have already handed out punishments for crowd trouble in the UEFA Champions League this season. They are likely to take a dim view of how a smoke bomb was allowed to enter the stadium and then nearly injure a player on the pitch.
Manchester United’s game against Zorya already faced some trouble
The Red Devils’ Europa League encounter was already in doubt before the game started, as the pitch was frozen and there was a likelihood of the game being called off. In his pre-match press conference, Jose Mourinho hoped for a miracle, saying “They are putting some warmth on it, but it’s very difficult and people cannot make miracles.”
“Let’s hope everything goes OK. The pitch is hard and very icy. I think Uefa know the conditions of the pitch and everybody knows that in mid-December the conditions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe are more difficult.”
However, the game went ahead, with Mourinho describing the pitch as ‘difficult’ moments before kickoff. His words seemed prescient, as the game was a stop-start affair in the first half, as both sides struggled to conjure up any form of fluency.