Russian football was hit by a new race storm Friday when Ghana’s Emmanuel Frimpong was sent-off after just 30 minutes of the season opener for reacting to a stream of abuse.
Former Arsenal star Frimpong, playing for Ufa in the Russian Premier League, received a straight red card on the half-hour mark for making an obscene gesture at Spartak Moscow supporters.
“I want to apologize for the sending off after being provoked, shouldn’t have happened but also am a human being,” the 23-year-old Frimpong later tweeted after the game which ended 2-2.
“Racially abused for the game that I love. Fantastic result to draw with Spartak, proud of team and I’m going to serve a sentence for being abused.”
Frimpong also said he was stunned by the ongoing problem of racism in Russian football, just three years out from the country hosting the 2018 World Cup.
He added on Twitter: “..and yet we going to hold a World Cup in this country where Africans will have to come play football.”
On the pitch, Bosnian forward Haris Handzic put Ufa 1-0 up in the 11th minute, heading in a free-kick from Nikolai Safronidi.
In the 25th minute, German back Serdar Tasci pulled the scores level when he volleyed home a rebound after Ufa ‘keeper David Yurchenko parried a close-range shot by Ivelin Popov.
Despite being a man down, Ufa grabbed the lead again in the 67th minute through defender Dmitriy Stotskiy who headed home from a left-wing cross by Handzic.
Cape Verde striker Ze Luis then came off the bench to level with 11 minutes left when he slotted the ball home from a Dmitry Kombarov corner.
“It was a good game even though we failed to win,” Spartak manager Dmitry Alenichev said.
“We dominted after the break and created chances but a loss of concentration has cost us another goal.”
Ufa head coach Igor Kolyvanov praised his team for their display following the red card.
“It was hard to oppose Spartak attacks after Frimpong was sent off,” he said.
“But my players showed great spirit. They are in good physical condition, it helped us to resist Spartak pressure. I believe the draw is a fair result.”