© AP, Dec 12, 2011

Zenit escapes stadium ban in Champions League

NYON, Switzerland(AP) Zenit St. Petersburg has been fined by UEFA but escaped a stadium ban after smoke from flares ignited by fans twice stopped a Champions League home match.

UEFA says the Russian club must pay 50,000 ($66,000) for several disciplinary offenses, but stopped short of ordering matches played in an empty Petrovsky Stadium.

Zenit is in the Champions League last-16 draw on Friday.

Zenit's 0-0 draw with APOEL on Nov. 23 was stopped for three minutes in the first half until thick smoke cleared.

German referee Felix Brych also took players off the field during a seven-minute, second-half stoppage.

UEFA says it also punished Zenit because fans displayed ''illicit banners'' and invaded the field against APOEL, and during a 1-0 home win against Shakhtar Donetsk.

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