It was legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson who famously declared: “Football. Bloody hell”.
The wily Scot was speaking after United’s famous 2-1 turnaround in the final of the Champions League back in 1999 but the sentiment could easily apply to events at a recent match between Brazilian club sides Vitoria and Bahia.
What started out as an ordinary enough encounter in the Bahia state championship soon descended into chaos following a series of decidedly tasty tackles.
In the first half alone, there were a whopping six yellow cards with Vitoria taking the lead through a goal from Denilson – not to be confused with the Denilson that played for Arsenal or that other Denilson who used to do step-overs for Brazil.
Yet it was in the second half that things began to escalate quickly. In the 50th minute, visitors Bahia were awarded a penalty, with Vinicius duly dispatching the spot-kick with relative ease.
All of which would have been fine were it not for the fact Vinicius then decided to celebrate his goal dancing in front of the home supporters. That proved too much for some of the Vitoria team to take, and a mass brawl ensued, with players and punches reigning in from both sides.
It prompted a delay of some 16 minutes while the referee, match officials and riot police attempted to get the situation under control. When they finally did, a total of eight different players were given their marching orders.
Three red cards were shown to players from Vitoria with a further five dished out to the Bahia squad, including the goalscorer Vinicius and three substitutes. Though the game did eventually continue, the drama didn’t end there with a further two Vitoria players subsequently sent off 11 minutes from time.
That gave the referee no alternative but to abandon the match, with over 10 minutes still remaining. Bahia are now set to be awarded a 3-0 victory as a result of the incident, though there could be more serious punishments to come for both clubs.
It’s not the first time a brawl has marred a match in the Brazilian league.
Back in March 2017, a local derby between Gama and Brasiliense descended into chaos after supporters invaded the pitch and began fighting with players and fans alike.
In both instances, riot police were on hand to intervene and calm tensions. And you thought English football fans were bad…