Players brawl after Venezuela hold Panama

September 13, 2007

CARACAS, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Players punched and kicked each other in an ugly brawl after Venezuela converted an injury-time penalty to draw 1-1 with Panama in a friendly international.

Trouble erupted after Giancarlo Maldonado scored the controversial spot kick, awarded for a foul on Daniel Arismendi, in the sixth minute of stoppage time in Wednesday night's game in Puerto La Cruz.

Media reports from both countries said the trouble began when Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and Venezuela's Gabriel Cichero attempted to fish the ball out of the net.

The two were involved in an ugly exchange, other players became involved and the situation degenerated with players aiming punches and karate kicks at each other.

Panamanian media said Penedo was taking to hospital suffering from dizziness and defender Felipe Baloy was treated for an injury to his mouth.

Panama had taken a shock lead through Rolando Escobar in the 67th minute. Gabriel Gomez was close to a second 10 minutes later when his shot scraped the bar.

Venezuela were playing their last game before the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers next month. They are away to Ecuador in their opening match.