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Romania beats Kosovo 2-0 in temporarily suspended match due to fans’ ‘discriminatory behavior’

Romania defeated Kosovo 2-0 in a EURO 2024 qualifier on Tuesday, but the match was suspended in the 18th minute after “discriminatory behavior from some supporters,” according to UEFA’s website.

A section of Romanian fans held up a banner that read ‘Kosovo is Serbia,’ while some members of the home end chanted “Serbia, Serbia,” according to Reuters.

The game was temporarily paused, with the referee taking the players off the field.

It also said it “firmly condemns provocative messages of a political, ideological, religious or insulting nature” and confirmed law enforcement had identified those involved.

“A legal investigation will be conducted according to the facts committed,” it added.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, following the 1998-99 war in which Kosovar Albanians attempted to break from what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, made up of today’s Serbia and Montenegro. NATO intervened in the war to protect Kosovo’s Albanian majority.

Serbia views Kosovo as a breakaway state and does not recognize its independence. Kosovo’s Serbs view themselves as part of Serbia, and see Belgrade as their capital, rather than Pristina.

Meanwhile, Romania does not recognize Kosovo, which has caused tension between the two.

The game was eventually restarted, with Kosovo being reduced to 10 men just before the half-time interval when Vedat Muriqi was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a foul.

Although it took much of the second half for the hosts to break the deadlock, Romania finally exploited its numerical advantage and moved ahead in the 83rd minute through Nicolae Stanciu, before Valentin Mihăilă doubled the lead in added time.

Romania moves into second place on 12 points in Group I, while Kosovo dropped to fifth position and remain winless on four points.

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