STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - AIK and IFK Gothenburg stopped playing in the 27th minute of their Allsvenskan game on Monday in a remarkable and emotional tribute to AIK goalkeeper Ivan Turina who died on Thursday.
As the clock ticked towards the 27th minute the ball was kicked out of play and when it began, both sets of players and the referee stood and applauded Turina whose squad number was 27.
The Croatian goalkeeper, whose joined AIK from Dynamo Zagreb in 2010, was found dead in his Stockholm apartment. An autopsy has been carried out, but the results have yet to be made public.
The players’ tribute was one of many on what was an emotionally charged night for Swedish football.
Fans began gathering early at the arena and many of them wore t-shirts depicting the goalkeeper.
Roses covered the area behind the goal in front of the home fans, who sang the Croatian’s name at every opportunity, and banners and flags celebrating Turina and bearing his squad number fluttered in the breeze.
As at all Swedish top-flight matches this weekend, a minute’s silence was observed before kickoff.
AIK fell behind to a first-half penalty but came back to win 3-1 and secure their first victory since moving to the Friends Arena.
The emotion of the occasion seemed to get to the players in the early stages, with Henok Goitom and Daniel Majstorovic missing penalties in the same first-half minute for the home side, before the latter conceded a spot-kick which gave Gothenburg the lead.
But a goal from Kennedy Igboananike levelled the scores and Costa Rican international Celso Borges gave AIK the lead when he squeezed a volley in at the near post early in the second half.
Winger Martin Mutumba then fired a vicious swerving drive which secured AIK’s first home league victory since leaving the Rausnda stadium at the end of the 2012 season.
AIK have also announced that they will face Dinamo Zagreb, Turina’s previous club, in a charity match in Stockholm on May 13 with the proceeds from the game going to their former keeper’s family.
Editing by Ed Osmond