Crowd trouble marred FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday as Hungary fans clashed with police during a 1-1 draw against England at Wembley Stadium and Poland players walked off in Albania after bottles were hurled in another Group I match.
Karol Swiderski had just scored for Poland in the 77th minute when he was struck by a bottle thrown from the stands. It led to the game being suspended for about 20 minutes before Poland returned to the field and held on to win 1-0.
England are now three points clear of Poland, with games against Albania and San Marino remaining next month in the pursuit of automatic qualification for the World Cup in Qatar next year.
Just moments after kick-off in London, trouble flared among a pocket of about 1,000 Hungarians in one corner of Wembley. Dozens of Hungary supporters charged at stewards, who were forced to retreat before police wielding batons arrived.
The fighting continued for several minutes before riot police finally restored order in the stands and the stadium concourse.
The incident occurred when police moved in to arrest one Hungary fan for a racist comment to a steward. Hungary’s supporters also booed when England players took the knee before kickoff and held up a banner protesting against the anti-racism gesture.
“Every time we speak on racial abuse the punishments that follow never seem in line with what has happened,” England defender Tyrone Mings said. “I sincerely hope that if that is the case, the punishments fall in line with what happened this time.”
Hungary manager Marco Rossi refused to condemn the fans, saying: “I don’t want to comment about this situation... It is not my task. Everything I could say could be interpreted in a different way, so I prefer no comment.”
During the game, a foul by Luke Shaw on Loic Nego led to Roland Sallai putting Hungary ahead from the penalty spot in the 24th minute.
England equalized in the 37th when John Stones turned in a free-kick from Manchester City teammate Phil Foden.
England manager Gareth Southgate even took captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling off with 15 minutes to go for Jordan Henderson and Tammy Abraham, but the team could not produce a winner, dropping points in a home qualifier for the first time since a draw against Ukraine in September 2012.
“Disappointing performance,” Southgate said. “Full credit to Hungary. I thought they caused us a tactical problem, and I don’t think we played at the level we needed to play.”
“We’ll go away and think about the balance of the team, but individually we can do better as well. We shouldn’t just judge things on one game, right across the board we weren’t sharp with our play, gave the ball away,” he said.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, a 58th career hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal stroll to a 5-0 home win over Luxembourg in Group A World Cup qualifying.
The treble, which meant Ronaldo became the first man to net 10 international hat-tricks, takes his tally to 115 international goals from 182 caps as he continues to pull away as the top men’s international goalscorer of all-time.
Victory ensures Portugal remain a point behind leaders Serbia, who moved onto 17 points with a 3-1 home win over Azerbaijan, with a game in hand and superior goal difference.
Next, Portugal travel to Ireland before hosting Serbia in what could be a winner-takes-all fixture to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Additional reporting by AFP and Reuters
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