Football - Five sent off after brawl near end of match in Argentina

Five players were shown red cards after a mass brawl in the dying minutes of Arsenal's 1-1 home draw with Gimnasia in an Argentine first division clash.

Reuters

The fighting started when Arsenal's players objected to Gimnasia not giving them possession when play resumed with a bounce up after it was stopped to change a punctured ball.

Both benches got involved as well with Arsenal coach Gustavo Alfaro and his Gimnasia counterpart Pedro Troglio and some of the players trying to stop the brawl.

Play was held up for nearly 10 minutes after referee Dario Herrera sent off two Arsenal players and three from Gimnasia.

"If he'd sent off ten from each team that would have been okay because it all got out of hand after play was stopped for the punctured ball," Alfaro told reporters after Friday's match.

"I'm not sure if it was our ball or Arsenal's at the moment of play being stopped because if it was theirs then we were wrong and should have played it back to them," Troglio said.

He added that the Argentine FA's disciplinary committee should probably hand out more sanctions to players "and other people who should not even have been on the pitch".

It was the second match to end in a free-for-all in six days after Boca Juniors and Godoy Cruz players fought after the final whistle in their 2-2 draw in Mendoza on Sunday.

There were no red cards after that brawl but two players from each side were later handed one-match suspensions.

Boca beat Colon 2-0 at La Bombonera on Friday, with striker Emmanuel Gigliotti opening the scoring with his seventh goal in as many matches, to move level on 24 points with second-placed Arsenal as other title contenders dropped points.

Newell's Old Boys, who were held 1-1 by Godoy Cruz in Rosario, are three points clear at the top with six matches to go in the "Inicial" championship.

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