Paraguayan junior game turns ugly, all 36 players and substitutes sent off as referee cowers in dressing room

Posted by Chris Wright

In scenes more reminiscent of "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," a local Paraguayan league game between Teniente Farina and Libertad in the Asuncion junior league ended with every single player and substitute from both sides being red-carded after a hellish brawl broke out on the pitch in the final minutes of the match.

With five minutes left to play, referee Nestor Guillen sent off two players (one from Teniente, one from Libertad) for swinging punches at each other following a scrappy tackle. Both players refused to leave the pitch and continued to swipe at each other, instantly sparking a mass rumble in the centre-circle.

Punches, knees and head-high kung-fu kicks rained down as the three officials scarpered to the safety of the dressing rooms and began administering red cards for every single player on the two clubs' teamsheets regardless of whether they were involved in the brawl or not.

Teniente club president Hernan Martinez told local media:

"Many of the players that were on the field and on the substitutes' bench, everyone went on to the field to try to control their team mates and even the players from the other team.

"The referees didn't even stay on the field. As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room.

"They ran through the tunnel to their dressing room. They weren't able to see anything that happened. But, in the report, to more or less wash their hands of the responsibility, they expelled all 36 players."

The president of Libertad, Sixto Nunez, was toeing a similar line to the local media after the pummeling had subsided:

"The referee needed to take better care of the boys. He should have made sure that the two dismissed players were completely off the field.

"Instead, the officials left the field and when the players were all leaving together that's when the fighting started again."

Of course, it was the referee's fault. We see now.

All 36 players from Teniente Farina and Libertad have been automatically suspended (which will presumably make fulfilling their next few fixtures a bit tricky?) while the relevant authorities come to an agreement over the magnitude of the punishment they are going to level at the two clubs.

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