A flashpoint akin to that seen at last season’s final dampened the mood as Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) secured progression to the final of ISL 2016.
In the final of ISL 2015 between FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC, played at Goa’s Jawaharlal Nehru, club officials and players were involved in a ruckus at the final whistle as Chennaiyin scored two goals in added-on time to win, prompting protests from FC Goa club officials.
At the final whistle in Mumbai on Tuesday, unhappy with the Kolkata team’s time-wasting tactics and celebrations at the final whistle, Mumbai City players protested — some more violently than others. (HIGHLIGHTS)
As the referee blew the final whistle, few Mumbai players confronted players of the visiting team to protest their gamesmanship and minor shoving battles began.
But Mumbai City substitute Thiago Cunha became a catalyst as he lunged in with a flying kick aimed at one of the Kolkata players, right in front of the visitor’s technical area.
Head coaches of both teams and their support staff needed to step in and settle the situation with the intervention of the match officials.
Mumbai City’s Cunha and ATK’s Juan Belencoso were shown straight red cards for their involvement in the skirmish after the final whistle.
When asked about the incident in the post match press conferences, coaches of both teams said they were unaware of the exact details of the incident.
Mumbai City head coach Alexandfre Guimaraes said: “I didn’t see what happened. I was trying to get some players out but I didn’t see what exactly happened (in the whole ruckus).”
While ATK head coach Jose Molina was also unable to divulge details, he did say one of his players had come off for worse in the bargain.
“I can’t understand what happened. I don’t know who started it. In the dressing room we have a player with his eye (swollen). I hope the league can watch it again and anaylse what happened because it is not good for anybody,” said Molina.
The match was a feisty affair from the beginning with 24 fouls being committed by both teams and 5 yellow cards shown to the away side.
ATK’s Robert Lalthlamuana picked up two of the yellow cards and was given his marching orders earlier in the match. The second of his cautions was received in the 41st minute for tripping Mumbai City’s Matias Defederico from behind, having been warned a minute earlier for intentional time wasting.
With regards to the episode at the end of the match, league officials issued a statement stating, “The scuffle will be reported to the disciplinary committee and we will wait for the report before commenting on the topic.”