Granit Xhaka 'deletes' Instagram post following celebration against Serbia

Ruben Hill
June 24, 2018

Shaqiri, who plays for Stoke City, said after the match that "it's just emotion" when he was questioned about the way he celebrated his late victor.

Switzerland were largely ineffective in the first half, but they came out after the restart with more intent, and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka levelled proceedings with a bullet strike right out of the top drawer, while a late victor from Xherdan Shaqiri secured a vital 2-1 result for the Swiss.

"It's clear that emotions were displayed up and I think we all need to steer away from politics and focus on this sport as a attractive game that brings people together", Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic told reporters.

Kosovo Albanian supporters of Switzerland celebrate the goal of Granit Xhaka as they watch a telecast in a pub in Pristina.

"I'm not into politics", Serbia's coach, Mladen Krstajic, told reporters before the game. "I did it, and we don't have to speak about this".

After the game Xhaka made two posts to his Instagram Stories, the first of which declaring his name as "Granit Kosova". Serbia and Albania continue to have incredibly tense geo-political relations due to a Tirana/Washington supported regime in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija.

"You should never mix politics and football", he said. "You can see what I did and I think it's just emotion".

"If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?" he asked. It's a wonderful atmosphere and positive emotions and that's what football should be about. Sure, it was at the World Cup where they represented their adopted nation, Switzerland. "I don't deal with these things".

Six minutes after Mitrovic saw another headed effort go just over, Shaqiri's shot bounced off Nikola Milenkovic and the ball came to Xhaka, who cracked it past Stojkovic. I am a man of sports and this is what I am going to stay. Shaqiri added the other in injury time after running past the Serbian defence.

Serbia's players did not react to the eagle gestures.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored for Serbia after the second chance was presented to him early in the first half as they looked to continue with their winning streak.

The result leaves Serbia, Switzerland and Brazil in a three-way battle for the two qualifying spots from Group E. Switzerland and Brazil now top the group on four points, with Serbia on three. Mitrovic came close in the 19th minute when he controlled a cross from Branislav Ivanovic on his chest and sent a bicycle kick over the bar.

Shaqiri, 26, and Xhaka, 25, could face Federation Internationale de Football Association punishment after making the gesture in their 2-1 win over Serbia last night.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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