Mo Salah scores winner at SPPU after all-out Sudan vs Iraq brawl
International Youth fest tournament: Sudan win semifinal 1-0 after security brought in to sort out red-card fracasUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 17:02 IST
On a warm, windy day at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) football ground, a massive scuffle between the Iraqi and Sudanese players gave the International Youth Festival’s football tournament its fitting cutting edge.
On Thursday, after a 15-minute break due to the quarrel, just 20 minutes into the first half, Sudan went on to win the not-so-friendly semifinal encounter 1-0, after striker Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the match in the 9th minute.
Both sides finished with 10-men as the referee dished out red cards for one player from each side.
The game got off to a lively start, with both teams playing with intent. Sudan’s Ramdan Mohamed launched the first attack of the game, with a cross from the right flank, but the keeper palmed it away to safety. Sudan’s Sohaib Monir then wiggled his way past a couple of Iraqi midfielders, but was eventually thwarted by defender Kareem Ali. Iraq finally registered their first attack of the game from a free-kick on the right flank. Muhammed Sajjad whipped in a decent, deep delivery, but the keeper got his fist to the ball.
Nine minutes into the game, Sudan broke the deadlock.
Mohamed Salah received the ball from midfield and unleashed a venomous strike, giving Sudan the lead.
On a counter, Sudan found themselves in a 3-on-2 situation and Iraq defender Sarmid Ali brought Sudan attacker Ramdan Mohamed down.
Ramdan got up and pushed Sarmid to the ground. Teammates got involved and the referee, furious with both sets of players, stepped off the pitch.
The match halted for a period of 15-minutes. The officials finally stepped on to the pitch and spoke with captains of both the teams. Sarmid and Ramdan were both given matching orders.
The game completely changed in the second half with 10-men of both sides clearly upset. Players were afraid to challenge for the ball and attempt sliding tackles as they did not want confrontations. Towards the end of the game, Iraq had a couple of glorious opportunities to equalise, but both efforts were beaten away by the goalkeeper.
The score remain unchanged after Sudan’s Amro Abbas blasted a set-piece over the bar.
After the game
“It started off as a friendly encounter, but unfortunately the fight broke out. Sometimes, it happens in football and I am sure none of the players have taken it personally. The tournament has brought us all together. We have established connections not just with our compatriots, but also with people who are foreigners from different countries. Sometimes, certain people are unable to control their anger, but I hope everyone calms down and takes a sporting approach to the game. Now we just want to focus on the final tomorrow.”
- Abubaker Mahmoud Mustafa, Sudan student representative
What the official said?
“”If I intervened, they might have hit me too. The players were just not interested in listening to what I had to say. I do not know how they will react even if I show them a yellow or red card,” said one of the referees, requesting anonymity