SYDNEY: A referee had his hands full as he brandished six red cards during a fiery Oceania Champions League match that ended 4-3 and saw nine minutes of stoppage time.
The clash on Monday between Samoa’s Kiwi FC and Nadi FA of Fiji followed a match earlier in the day between Magenta of New Caledonia and Tefana from Tahiti in which three players were sent off.
Anish Khem was the hero for the Fijian team, scoring all four goals.
It was a routine game until the 44th minute when a player from each side was given his marching orders by referee George Time from the Solomon Islands for their part in a fracas, with Kiwi FC leading 3-1, the Oceania Football Confederation said on their website.
There was little further drama until an 81st-minute melee resulted in another double sending-off — Nadi goalkeeper Vereti Dickson and Kiwi FC’s Lionel Taylor were both banished by referee Time.
Nadi then pulled a goal back on 87 minutes before there was another sending-off seconds later when Kiwi substitute Lawrie Letutusa saw red.
Because of all the interruptions, nine minutes of time were added which saw two more Nadi goals and another dismissal.
Khem completed his hat-trick in the sixth minute of stoppage time to level the scores and made it a four-goal haul with a 98th-minute winner.
In between, Nadi’s Napolioni Qasevakatini was ordered off, leaving both sides with just eight players.
Nadi coach Kamal Swamy said he didn’t know what to make of it all.
“We lacked discipline today which made the game very difficult for the remaining players on the field,” he said. “The discipline of some of the players let us down.”
While six red cards in one match is highly unusual, the world record in a single game is reportedly 36, when the official dismissed all the players, substitutes and coaches in an Argentinian fifth-tier game in 2011, British media reported at the time.