Red Star Belgrade players celebrated their qualification for the group stages of the Champions League by commandeering an army tank and riding it through the city streets.
A 1-1 draw at home to Swiss outfit Young Boys sealed their place in the pools for 2019/20 after the first leg of their playoff tie had finished 2-2 in Bern, the Serbs going through on away goals. Once the match had finished and supporters had filtered out of the stadium, Red Star’s squad hopped in the military vehicle and paraded it through Belgrade.
A day before kick-off at Rajko Mitic Stadium, the club had parked a battle tank outside the venue in a move that sparked furious criticism from neighbouring Croatia, as reported by Euro News.
The model used by Red Star – a Soviet T-55 – was employed during the bloodshed in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Officials from the SuperLiga team insisted that the vehicle was chosen to represent the club slogan: “The Machine Has Started.”
The decision to drive the tank as a form of celebration caused further outrage in the countries surrounding Serbia, with the players seen carrying flares as fireworks were set off.
Despite the fact it was evidently still mobile, a spokesman stated that: “It does not have an engine, it does not have transmission, the gun on the tank has been welded off and all the shooting and optical devices have been removed.”
On Thursday afternoon, Red Star will find out which sides they will face in the Champions League pool stages.