Nemanja Vidic turns peacemaker as Serbian thugs run riot during friendly defeat

29 May 2010 10:38
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic was cast in the role of peacemaker on Sunday as hundreds of Serbia fans went on the rampage during their country's 1-0 friendly defeat by New Zealand in Austria.

Stand-in captain Vidic picked up a microphone and addressed Serb thugs through the stadium's PA system in Klagenfurt to appeal for calm after trouble erupted in the second half.

Peacemaker: Manchester United and Serbia captain Nemanja Vidic calmed rioting fans over the PA system

Flares and missiles were hurled on to the pitch as Serb fans showed their displeasure at their team. Dozens of supporters invaded the playing surface and were engaged in running battles with stewards as players prepared to flee to the dressing room.

But the plea for order from Vidic, captain in the absence of Dejan Stankovic, appeared to work and the game was restarted having been held up for several minutes.

Invasion: Security were forced to remove fans who had made their way onto the pitch

Security will have to be stepped up when Serbia play Poland in a potential tinderbox of a friendly in Kufstein, Austria, on Wednesday.

There were 10,000 Serbs, mostly expatriates, at Klagenfurt and Austrian officials fear the same number will turn up for the clash against the Poles, whose supporters also have a violent reputation.

Serbia's experimental line-up were outclassed by the New Zealanders two weeks before the start of the World Cup.

New Zealand stuck to their trademark hard-working approach and it paid dividends when Shane Smeltz scored the only goal in the 22nd minute. The striker took a long ball in his stride and beat right-back Antonio Rukavina, one of Serbia's second-choice starters, before he steered a low shot home.

The Kiwis, led by Blackburn defender Ryan Nelsen, went close again three minutes later when Plymouth striker Rory Fallon saw a thunderous shot parried after he was set up by Smeltz. 

Serbia improved after the break but coach Raddy Antic could draw few positives from the afternoon.

Welcoming: Fans wave skull and cross-bones flags during the game

European champions Spain also struggled tobeat Saudi Arabia 3-2 in Innsbruck. David Villa and Xabi Alonso were on target, but Spain needed an injury-time winner from substitute Fernando Llorente. Neither Fernando Torres nor Cesc Fabregas played.

Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and Cacau were on target as Germany crushed Hungary 3-0 in Budapest.

Hull's Jozy Altidore and Fulham's Clint Dempsey scored for the United States in a 2-1 win over Turkey in Philadelphia. 

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Source: Daily_Mail