A mass brawl marred Al Sadd's 2-0 away
win over South Korea's Suwon Bluewings in the first leg of their
Asian Champions League semi-final on Wednesday 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 their 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 team mate was still being treated, were
unaware the referee had allowed the game to continue.
"Clearly, Yeom Ki-hoon had put the ball out and I think it
is the situation when our players should get it back," Suwon
coach Yoon Sung-hyo told reporters.
"The opposition scored an ungentlemanly goal but there's
nothing we can do about it."
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 by
the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Fans vented their frustration by throwing objects on to the
field during the scuffles with one supporter running on to the
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.
Al Sadd coach Jorge Fossati said the pressure of defending
for long periods had led to the mix up in not returning the ball
"There were two players injured and my players were feeling
a little pressure emotionally as Suwon were continually
attacking," the Uruguayan explained.
"Of course, I don't want to defend the second goal but I
think that Niang lost his head and made the decision to attack
Niang was sent off shortly after collecting a second yellow
card for kicking the ball away as the final minutes were played
out amid a simmering tension and a number of rash tackles by
both teams, who meet in the second leg in Doha next Wednesday.
Champions League controversies continue to follow Al Sadd
who could consider themselves fortunate to be in the last four.
The big-spending Qatari's lost both matches in their
quarter-final only to be awarded a 3-0 first leg win by the AFC
after Iranian opponents Sepahan were deemed to have fielded an
The early action in Korea on Wednesday had been placid with
no sign of the trouble to come as Suwon enjoyed the majority of
possession but Al Sadd comfortably restricted them to long-range
Suwon, who lost the Korean FA Cup final on Saturday,
struggled in the final third throughout the game and Al Sadd
took advantage to grab the lead in the 69th minute through
Senegal striker Niang.
The dangerman won possession and broke down the left before
cutting in and his right foot shot from 20 metres deflected off
his own player and wrongfooted the keeper for a vital away goal.
The 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 in front of a
Suwon and Al Sadd are bidding to reach their first Champions
League final but their chances of lifting the trophy next month
will be hampered with a number of suspensions likely as a result
of Wednesday's incidents.
Twice winners Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia host South Korea's
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