On February 11, a heated grudge match between Porto and Sporting Lisbon boiled over into a full-blown brawl.
The collision between the two best sides in Portugual always makes for an entertaining affair. And with the title race heating up, it’s no surprise that proceedings turned sour.
Porto hosted the game, but the away side secured an early lead. Paulinho headed home to put Sporting into the ascendancy following a beautifully delivered cross. However, this didn’t put a halt to their front forward pressure.
In the 34th minute, they crafted a fantastic move that left their opposition’s defence in no man’s land. A simple pass inside the box allowed Nuno Santos to double their lead.
But it didn’t take Porto long to hit back. Just four minutes later, Fabio Vieira smashed the ball into the back of the net with thunderous precision. As the second half began, Sporting’s tremendous start looked to be disintegrating in front of their eyes.
Sebastian Coates received a red card for bundling his man off the ball. Little did the crowd know that the sending off was just a sign of things to come.
The ten-man side desperately attempted to defend their lead. But in the end, ‘The Dragões’ broke them down. A Mehdi Taremi header equalled the game for the home side.
After 90 minutes had concluded, the hotly-contested game continued to excite into injury time. But after Pepe received a high boot from a corner, the match descended into chaos.
Porto and Sporting players brawl
The Portuguese defender turned the football pitch into a war zone following the final whistle. Suddenly the players, substitutes and staff piled onto the field and began violently shoving one another as the referee tried his best to calm everybody down.
But his efforts were in vain, as fight fever spread across all four corners of the pitch, with even the ball boys getting involved. The initial brawl resulted in Joao Palhinha, Bruno Tabata and Agustin Marchesin receiving their marching orders before it seemed the violence had settled. But the official was given no choice but to send off an enraged Pepe who couldn’t deal with his anger either.
Matheus Reis assaulted
A steward launched a jab towards an unsuspecting Matheus Reis during the mayhem. Colleagues did their best to hold the steward back. He will likely receive retrospective action for his violent conduct.
Security continued to attempt to get the match under control, but it took a further ten minutes for the crowd to exit and the players to head to the dressing room.
Further footage appeared to show the player spitting in the direction of the steward.
Following the match, UTD Arena revealed the statistics that show just how intense the fixture was. Throughout the 105 minutes of action, the ball was only in play for 43 minutes (41%). And during the 56-minute second half, the ball remained on the pitch for a mere 21 minutes (38%).
But by far, the most alarming piece of information is that there were 18 fouls in that half alone, which, as we now know, only foreshadowed the shocking scenes to come.
Featured Image Credit: Getty