Euro 2020 Special

Argentina Cup Final Sees Ten Red Cards

A cup final in Argentina had to be ended early after the referee issued ten cards. With one of the sides involved, Boca Juniors left with just six men on the pitch, the match was stopped because they did not have the minimum number required to complete the game.

Now the same referee is headed to Qatar where he will officiate in the World Cup. Teams involved may want to think twice about starting any nonsense if they see that he is taking charge of one of their games.



The two teams involved in the Champions Trophy final, Boca Junior and Racing Club had recently been involved in one of the closest finishes to a league season in recent years. Going into the final match of the campaign, Boca led Racing by a single point but with an inferior goal difference.

Boca could only draw their final game with Independiente, but were given a helping hand from an unlikely source when bitter local rivals River Plate beat Racing to earn them the title.

It had been a bitterly fought campaign, and there was a simmering current of resentment among both sets of players going into the game.

That had already surfaced during normal time, with Sebastian Villa of Boca and Johan Carbonero of Racing both seeing red after getting involved in a fight and then Boca’s Alan Varela was shown a second yellow.


The flashpoint

With the scores level at the end of normal time, the match went into 30 minutes of extra time, but looked to be headed for penalties when, with two minutes left, Carlos Alcaraz scored what proved to be the winner for Racing.

The Boca players took grave objection to the nature of his celebrations, which involved him ripping off his shirt and dropping to his knees in front of the opposition supporters.

It provoked a mass brawl, with Alcaraz at the centre of it. He was pushed and shoved, grabbed by the ear and had the ball thrown at him.

In fact, he was the first to be dismissed by referee Facundo Tello, but he soon had company. Team-mate defender Jonathan Galvan, and used substitute was also dismissed.

Five Boca players saw red in the incident, including two who got involved in the fracas from the bench.

That meant that Boca had just six men left on the field, one less than the minimum complement.


Alcaraz apologises

Alcaraz has apologised to the Boca fans for his part in proceedings and admitting that he got caught up in the moment when he scored and had been tactless in the way that he celebrated. He admitted that on reflection it would have been better for him to have crossed the field to celebrate with the Racing supporters.


Tello’s record

Certainly Tello has history when it comes to handing out cards. In 118 matches in top flight games in South America, he has handed out 612 yellow and 45 red cards so far in his career.

That is an average of more than five yellows a game, and almost one red every two games.

Any World Cup team who see that he is in charge of their match would do well to warn their players to be on their best behaviour.

At least Argentina themselves know he cannot stand in a match involving them.


That is not a record

Despite the best efforts of the two teams and referee Tello, this was not a record in terms of red cards issue, although that does belong to Argentina as well.

In 2011 a match in the fifth tier of Argentine football between Claypole and Victoriano Arenas, both based in Buenos Aires, earned itself a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Two players had already been sent off before, half-time, but, after the break, things took an ugly turn after a few bad challenges led to a brawl involving all the players left on the pitch, as well as those on the bench, with some fans even getting caught up in the mayhem as well.

The referees post-match report indicated that he had sent off the 20 players remaining on the pitch, plus shown an additional 14 red cards to subs and coaches sat on the benches. Taking into account the two he had already shown, that brought his total to the day to 36 red cards.




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