A 2-2 draw in the second leg of the Champions League playoff between Legia Warsaw and Steaua Bucharestput the aggregate score at 3-3 and allowed the visitors to advance to the group stage on away goals. Before the match, Legia fans were more focused on another adversary, though: competition organizers UEFA.
Earlier this month, UEFA ordered the Polish champions to pay a €30,000 fine and close the north stand of their stadium — home to the club’s troublemaking ultras — for Tuesday’s match as punishment for racist behavior during their second qualifying round tie against Welsh club The New Saints FC. So prior to the second-leg match aignast Steaua, Lega supporters choreographed a large display in the club’s colors that spelled out “UEFA Ultra Extreme Fanatical Atmosphere” with a heart as a background. It then disintegrated into an orgy of flares that told the administrative body exactly how they felt about the sanctions.
The display was reminiscent of Eskisehirspor fans responding to the Turkish FA banning flares by holding up a giant troll face banner with flares burning through it last year. The lesson here? Never underestimate football supporters’ ability to flout authority with pyrotechnics.