A mass brawl broke out in the in the first leg of the Asian Champions League semifinal between Suwon Bluewings of South Korea and Qatari club al-Sadd on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.
A mass brawl marred Qatari club al-Sadd's 2-0 win at South Korea's Suwon Bluewings in the first leg of their Asian Champions League semifinal yesterday with fighting halting play for 10 minutes and three players being sent off.
Coaching staff and players from both sides fought on the pitch at the Suwon World Cup Stadium following al-Sadd striker Mamadou Niang's controversial second goal in the 81st minute.
In some appalling scenes, players could be seen kicking at each other, while others ran away from the fighting as a number of scraps took place across the field.
The Koreans were unhappy that al-Sadd had quickly restarted play and set Niang through unopposed to round goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and score.
Before the controversial goal, Suwon had allowed the ball to go out of play after one of its players went down with a head injury in the al-Sadd area.
The game then restarted with al-Sadd forward Kader Keita passing to Niang as Suwon players, slowly walking back to their positions thinking their teammate was still being treated, were unaware the referee had allowed the game to continue.
Suwon players and coaching staff remonstrated with the referee and then their al-Sadd opponents as fighting broke out in dreadful scenes that will surely lead to heavy sanctions.
Fans vented their frustration by throwing objects on to the field during the scuffles with one supporter running on to the pitch.
After things had calmed down, Singaporean referee Malik Abdul Bashir showed a red card to Suwon's Stevica Ristic and al-Sadd's Keita but he could have easily awarded more such was the scale of the fighting.
Niang was sent off shortly after as the final minutes were played out amid a simmering tension and a number of rash tackles by both teams, who will meet in the second leg in Doha next Wednesday.
Champions League controversies continue to follow al-Sadd which could consider itself fortunate to be in the last four.
The big-spending Qataris lost both matches in their quarterfinal only to be awarded a 3-0 first leg win by the AFC after Iranian opponent Sepahan was deemed to have fielded an ineligible player.
The early action in Korea yesterday had been placid with no sign of the trouble to come as Suwon enjoyed the majority of possession but al-Sadd comfortably restricted it to long-range efforts.
Senegalese Niang, a former Olympique Marseille and Fenerbahce striker, was a thorn in the side of the Koreans all evening as their 16-match unbeaten home record in the competition ended.
Twice winner al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia was hosting South Korea's Jeonbuk Motors later.