Oscar at the centre of CSL punch-up

A brawl erupts between Shanghai SIPG players (in red) and Guangzhou R&F players (in blue) as Oscar lies prostrate on the pitch. The Brazilian international midfielder had instigated the incident after twice firing the ball at R&F players in a deliber
A brawl erupts between Shanghai SIPG players (in red) and Guangzhou R&F players (in blue) as Oscar lies prostrate on the pitch. The Brazilian international midfielder had instigated the incident after twice firing the ball at R&F players in a deliberate manner, which he later denied. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SHANGHAI • Brazilian international Oscar triggered a mass brawl in the Chinese Super League (CSL) on Sunday, as players and staff from his Shanghai SIPG side and opponents Guangzhou R&F traded blows on the pitch.

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 at R&F, where Andre Villas-Boas' SIPG were attempting to keep up the pressure on league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande.

Oscar cost SIPG a massive €60 million (S$92 million) in the last transfer window, the biggest deal in Asian football history. He instigated the bust-up when he lashed the ball twice at R&F players.

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The hosts' Chen Zhizhao retaliated, pushing the 25-year-old midfielder to the ground. Players, coaching staff and substitutes then 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 SIPG's Fu Huan were dismissed. Three others were booked.

Oscar was unhurt and the fiery encounter finished 1-1 to leave SIPG four points behind reigning champions Evergrande.


A brawl erupts between Shanghai SIPG players (in red) and Guangzhou R&F players (in blue) as Oscar lies prostrate on the pitch. The Brazilian international midfielder had instigated the incident after twice firing the ball at R&F players in a deliberate manner, which he later denied. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SIPG manager Villas-Boas defended Oscar, saying he was "just being passionate", and the player denied he had aimed the ball deliberately 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.

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," the club said in a statement.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Oscar at the centre of CSL punch-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe