Fans of Turkish football club Fenerbahce were reportedly seen wearing masks bearing the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin before their team took on Dynamo Kiev in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.
The meeting in Istanbul came just weeks after a controversial match between the two teams at the same venue – on that occasion in Champions League qualifying – where a mass of Fenerbahce fans were heard chanting Putin’s name.
Those actions earned Fenerbahce a fine from UEFA and a suspended partial stadium closure, although that punishment seemingly did not deter some fans from antagonizing their Ukrainian visitors again at the Ulker Stadium.
Turkish outlet Haberler shared an image of a fan bearing a Putin mask, reportedly before the match, while other images shared on social media purported to show an even larger group of fans with a Russian flag and the same masks.
“Don’t let UEFA see it!” read the headline from the Haberler story.
The match itself started with a large banner appearing in the stands reading ‘Peace at Home. Peace in the World’.
When the action got underway, Fenerbahce gained a modicum of revenge for their Champions League qualifying exit by beating Dynamo 2-1 thanks to an injury-time winner from new signing Michy Batshuayi, who joined the club from Chelsea in a late summer deal.
Back in July, Dynamo Kiev had emerged the victors against Fenerbahce in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier, in match which saw mass Putin chants break out in the crowd after Kiev player Vitaly Buyalsky was accused of a “provocative” celebration after putting his team ahead.
However, the Ukrainian team failed to reach the group stage of the competition after being beaten by Benfica in the next round, subsequently dropping into the second-tier UEFA Europa League – where they were drawn in a group alongside Fenerbahce.
The pair’s second meeting in the Europa League group stage is set to take place on November 3 in Krakow, Poland, where Dynamo are playing their European games during the conflict with Russia.
Ukraine sports minister weighs in on Turkish fans’ Putin chants
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