SHANGHAI • Brazilian international Oscar was banned for eight games yesterday for triggering a spectacular mass brawl between his Shanghai SIPG side and Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
The incident happened in the dying seconds of the first half of Sunday's 1-1 draw after Oscar had set up Hulk to score an equaliser, with Guangzhou players complaining to officials the strike should have been ruled out for offside.
Soon after the restart, Oscar appeared to deliberately kick the ball at two Guangzhou players, provoking a response that led to a scuffle on the halfway line.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) issued lengthy bans to four players, including Oscar, and fined him 40,000 yuan (S$8,138).
The 25-year-old midfielder, who was not booked at the time of the incident, is one of the most high-profile players in the CSL after he joined SIPG for an Asian-record €60 million (S$93.08 million) this season.
But that has not saved him from the mammoth ban as the CFA said he was responsible for sparking the ugly incident.
"It very badly impacted the Chinese Super League match," the CFA said in a statement, referring to Oscar's key role in the dispute in which players, coaching staff and substitutes poured off the benches and waded in.
Two players, one from each side, were sent off for their part in the brawl.
Disrespect the opponent? It is not true. I am a very dedicated player and respect sportsmanship.
OSCAR , Shanghai SIPG midfielder, denying that he purposely kicked the ball at two Guangzhou players.
banned for six CSL games, while Guangzhou player Li Tixiang will miss five games.
Guangzhou's Chen Zhizhao, who seemed to push Oscar to the floor, was banned for seven league games and both clubs were fined and warned about their behaviour.
SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas defended Oscar afterwards, saying he was "just being passionate", and Oscar denied he purposely aimed the ball at Guangzhou players.
"Disrespect the opponent? It is not true. I am a very dedicated player and respect sportsmanship," Sina Sports website quoted the former Chelsea player as saying.
The incident follows a series of bad behaviour in recent months in the CSL.
Shanghai Shenhua's Qin Sheng was given a six-month ban in March for stamping on the foot of Belgium international Axel Witsel of Tianjin Quanjian in a game that was televised internationally.
Last month, Hebei China Fortune's Argentinian forward Ezequiel Lavezzi apologised after making what was interpreted as a racist gesture in promotional pictures for his club.
He was pictured pulling the corners of his eyes tightly against his face, seemingly suggesting that the Chinese have slit eyes.
Also last month, Hulk was said to have punched Guizhou Zhicheng's assistant coach Yu Ming at half-time during SIPG's 3-0 victory.
The Brazilian striker denied claims of a racially motivated assault.
His club also defended him by saying that the incident "did not occur" because there was no security camera footage of the altercation.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS