The ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’ is one of the most infamous moments in English footballing history; a hugely violent match, full of backstories, which became one of the few games to be abandoned due to one team not having enough players to continue.
But now Brazil have their very own version, following an incredible match between Vitoria and Bahia which ended prematurely after nine players were sent off.
Ironically, the match had been billed as a ‘Peace Derby’, as it was the first time in six meetings between the two local rivals that both team’s supporters were allowed into the stadium to watch the game.
The match began relatively normally, with six yellow cards handed out by referee Jaílson Macedo de Freitas in a scrappy first half which saw home side Vitoria gain a 1-0 lead with a 34th minute strike from Denilson.
However, it all kicked off when Bahia were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute. Vinicius equalised, then promptly celebrated with an ‘obscene’ gesture in front of the home fans.
Fernando Miguel, the Vitoria goalkeeper, took exception to the celebrations, confronting the Bahia players, before, inevitably, a mass brawl broke out, with punches being thrown from both sides, followed by a long stoppage while the culprits were dealt with.
Once the carnage had subsided, the referee sent off two Bahia substitutes - who were not on the pitch - the goalscorer Vinicius and Fonseca from Bahia, and Denilson, Kanu and Rhayner from Vitoria. This left an eight vs nine matchup for the remainder of the game, which still had 29 minutes to run.
However, in the 79th minute, Uilian was sent off for Vitoria, taking them down to seven men, before Bruno Bispo, who had originally been booked back in the third minute, was shown a second yellow for kicking the ball away immediately after, giving the referee no choice but to send him off and abandon the game, with Vitoria having only six players left on the pitch.
Bahia Vice President Vitor Ferraz told O Globo that he would be telling his players to report assaults in the match to the police.
He also said that he expected a 3-0 win to be awarded to his team - which is what eventually happened in the Battle of Bramall Lane.
However, Vitoria head coach Vagner Mancini (who before the game had written on the club’s website the Nostradamus-like words: “The important thing is to be focused. On the pitch both teams play by the same rules, with 11 on each side”) did his best Neil Warnock impression, saying: “I do not know if the championship rule says that. Honestly, I think it would be very unfair if that happened. But if the rule has it there, it will have to be fulfilled.”
Vitoria president Ricardo David laid the blame squarely on Bahia striker Vinicius, describing his goal celebration as “an obscene gesture”, adding: “It is responsible for everything that happened here today.”
We can all agree, however, that everyone loves a brawl, and this is a classic for the ages.