AFC dishes out bans after mass brawl

New Delhi: Five players and coaching staff from South Korea`s Suwon Bluewings and Qatar`s Al Sadd have been banned for their part in an ugly brawl during a stormy Asian Champions League semi-final in midweek.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Saturday suspended Suwon`s Ristikj Stevica and assistant coach Ko Jong-su for the second leg in Doha on Oct. 26.

Al Sadd players Keita Abdul Kader and Mamadou Hamidou Niang, plus goalkeeping coach Suhail Saber Ali, will also be ineligible following Wednesday`s ill-tempered game, won 2-0 by the Qatari side.

A controversial second goal from Al Sadd late in the game sparked the fighting with play halted for 10 minutes and three players eventually sent off.

The AFC said it had also opened further disciplinary proceedings against the suspended players and officials, which will be referred to the AFC disciplinary board.

In some of the worst scenes in the AFC`s premier club competition players could be seen kicking at each other, while several fights broke out across the field.

Moments before the controversial goal, Suwon had allowed the ball to go out of play to let one of their players get treatment for a head injury in the Al Sadd area.

Al Sadd restarted quickly and scored with Suwon players walking slowly back to their positions believing their team mate was still being treated.

Furious at what they claimed was unsporting behaviour in failing to return the ball, Suwon players and coaching staff protested to the referee, triggering the brawl.

Fans vented their fury by throwing objects on to the field during the scuffles with one supporter running on to the pitch.

Even Al Sadd`s Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati said: "Niang lost his head and made the decision to attack (for the second goal) himself. I don`t want to defend it."

Bureau Report

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