AFC Champions League - Group H: Tue, 5th May 2009
|3 - 1|
|MA LEILEI 12', 19'
Venue: Tianjin Teda Stadium
If anyone needed evidence of what an ugly display of anti-football the AFC can sometimes throw up, they need look no further than this.
With Pohang having beaten Central Coast earlier in the day, Tianjin came into this Group H tie with nothing left to play for but their honour. Sadly, their by-any-means-necessary 3-1 win over a bruised and battered Frontale will probably leave them brimming with pride.
"I won't comment on the fouls - it's up to the referee to decide", was the Tianjin manger's post-match analysis. However, with the incompetent officials showing about as much authority as Bambi at a deer hunters' convention, the game quickly descended into a contest of kick or be kicked. How both teams ended up with 11 men still on the field is anybody's guess.
Footage of the game has already been banned in several countries, so gratuitous was some of the violence on display. The individual incidents are too many to go into, but the worst was probably a career-threatening, two-footed lunge at Terada's standing leg just before half-time.
And it wasn't just the players. Following a mix-up in which the referee booked Kengo despite Mori's protestations that he had been the offender, there was a mass on-field altercation in which one of Tianjin's staff appeared to kick a Frontale player. Goes without saying that no replay was shown and no punishment will be dished out.
Amateurish, Farcical, Contemptible. Sort it out AFC. This joke's not funny any more.