Soccer-Zenit penalised with 3-0 technical defeat for fan violence


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MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Zenit St. Petersburg have been penalised with a 3-0 technical defeat and fined one million roubles ($28,500) after one of their fans punched Dynamo Moscow captain Vladimir Granat during their Russian Premier League encounter at the Petrovsky Stadium, officials said.

The Russian Football Union also ordered Zenit, who were leading the league standings going into Sunday, to play two home games behind closed doors and another three with a section of the stadium closed where the team's ultras sit.

Dynamo were leading Sunday's match 4-2 in the 86th minute when a few hundred Zenit fans invaded the pitch and one of them punched defender Granat in the head, leaving him with a concussion.

The match was abandoned after the referee consulted with the match delegate.

"The punishment is harsh... (but) together with the police and the judicial organisations in the city, we are working to make sure that such incidents involving fans are never repeated in our stadium," Zenit's general director Maxim Mitrofanov said in a statement.

"In terms of the fine, the hooligan who hit the Dynamo player and those fans who ran onto the pitch will pay part of it, once they have been identified."

The supporter who threw the punch has been identified as 45-year-old Alexey Nesterov but he has not been found or arrested.

"We received a written letter from Granat about what happened and due to this a criminal investigation has been opened," Russian Football Union's Disciplinary Committee member Artur Grigoryants said.

"Zenit have not hidden their guilt and have said that their security was not up to scratch. We have not had an answer as to why the fan who hit Granat was not arrested right after the incident occurred in the stadium."

Zenit are second in the standings and face Kuban Krasnodar in their final match of the season. They are one point behind leaders CSKA Moscow, while Dynamo are in fourth place. (Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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