Brazilian international Oscar triggered a mass brawl in the Chinese Super League as players and staff from his Shanghai SIPG side and opponents Guangzhou R&F scrapped on the pitch.
After the former Chelsea midfielder appeared twice to fire the ball deliberately at Guangzhou players, he was rushed by several opponents. Oscar fell to the ground and a melee broke out.
One player from each side was sent off as the opening of the CSL transfer window was marked in rambunctious style.
The fight erupted just before half-time in Sunday’s CSL clash at Guangzhou R&F, where Andre Villas-Boas’ SIPG were attempting to keep up the pressure on league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.
Oscar cost SIPG a whopping 60 million euros ($67 million) in the last transfer window, the biggest such deal in Asian football history.
He sparked the confrontation when he lashed the ball twice at R&F players.
The home side’s Chen Zhizhao retaliated, pushing the 25-year-old Brazilian to the ground. Then players, coaching staff and substitutes poured off the benches and waded in as Oscar lay face-down on the pitch.
When order was restored after pushing and shoving, R&F’s Li Tixiang and Shanghai’s Fu Huan were dismissed and three others were booked.
Oscar was unhurt and the fiery encounter finished 1-1 to leave SIPG four points behind reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Villas-Boas defended Oscar, saying he was “just being passionate”, and Oscar denied he purposely twice aimed the ball at R&F players.
“Disrespect the opponent? It is not true. I am a very dedicated player and respect sportsmanship,” Sina Sports website quoted him as saying.
Another Brazilian international, the forward Hulk, equalised for Shanghai after being set up by Oscar just before the fisticuffs.
R&F players were incensed that the goal was allowed to stand since Oscar appeared to have been offside before his assist.
Villas-Boas told Shanghai’s official social media: “Our goal should be offside and it was unlucky for Guangzhou.”
R&F apologised after the home side racked up five yellow cards in addition to the one red.
“We are sorry about the infringements during the game and hope the players can adjust their attitude and prepare for the following game,” the club said in a statement.