Red Star fans set fire to seats after derby

Updated: April 8, 2009, 3:09 PM ET
Reuters

(recasts with stadium fire and crowd trouble)

BELGRADE, April 8 - Red Star Belgrade fans set stadium seats on fire after a Serbian first division derby against Partizan Belgrade on Wednesday, Belgrade's Beta news agency said.

Fire brigades had to move in to extinguish a huge blaze in the northern section of Partizan's stadium, traditionally occupied by Red Star fans for the fixture which has a history of crowd trouble.

No casualties have been reported but Serbian television, which showed footage of the incident, said there were skirmishes between fans and police before kickoff.

Defending champions Partizan won the match 2-0 to go 13 points clear at the top of the first division and close in on their 21st league title with nine games left.

Senegalese striker Lamine Diarra, the first division's top scorer, tapped in his 15th league goal of the season to give Partizan an early lead after good work by winger Nemanja Tomic.

Substitute Nikola Vujovic sealed Partizan's first home win over Red Star in eight years with an 82nd-minute thunderbolt, which gave Red Star goalkeeper Sasa Stamenkovic no chance.

"The title race is not mathematically over yet but we have a huge lead wth few games to go now and we are confident that we will retain the title," Partizan coach Slavisa Jokanovic told Serbian television.

"It was a massive win for us after a very solid performance and I have to congratulate my players for a great team effort."

(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; editing by Justin Palmer

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