ARGENTINA’S second division played host to a thrilling bust-up on the pitch of a promotion play-off semi-final over the weekend.
Club Almagro’s clash against Central Cordoba saw red cards flashed in both legs, with the return game sparking into acrimony.
After less than 30 minutes, a Cordoba player launched into a tackle that floored his opponent and a series of rash hacks rained in immediately after.
Whichever player was unfortunate enough to be on the ball was met with a flurry of studs.
The referee initially waved play on and remarkably told a couple of the downed men to get up as the action unfolded.
Eventually, he called a foul on Almagro forward Leandro Acosta for a crunching two-footed lunge.
The tackle that actually earned a red card
Somehow, things got even more silly as a yellow card was shown to Acosta and a teammate collapsed, claiming the referee had elbowed his face while waving the card.
Acosta, meanwhile, was incensed and squared up to the official in such a manner as to earn his marching orders.
Soon enough, the referee had several Almagro players in his face before some sense prevailed and others stepped in to calm the situation.
Fans on Twitter were left in stitches at the clip, claiming it showed why Argentina’s B Nacional second-tier was the “best in the world”.
La Mano de Dios tweeted: “Kicking, running, shoving, insulting, fouling. The B Nacional is the best league in the world.”
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Yossen joked: “B Nacional: the league in which the players simulate elbows, by the referees.”
Others thought something was more sinister at play, Marcelo Cantale tweeting: “The worst refereeing I’ve seen in a long time, it shows that the [bribe] envelope came from Santiago del Estero [home of Cordoba], total theft!!!”
Almagro somehow equalised moments after the red card as they fought a 2-1 first-leg deficit, but ultimately lost again as Cordoba set up a play-off final versus Sarmiento.