Last updated: 1 November, 2011

Al Sadd duo eligible for Asian Champions final after brawl ruling

Al Sadd forwards Mamadou Niang and Keita Abdul Kader will be eligible for the Asian Champions League final, football chiefs said Tuesday, after they escaped further bans over an ugly mass brawl.

They were initially suspended for one match for their roles in the fight against South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings in the ACL first-leg semi-final last month, but were left to sweat on Tuesday’s ruling by Asia’s football body.

The pair served their suspensions in last week’s second-leg, the Asian Football Confederation said after a disciplinary committee ruling, making them free for selection for Saturday’s final.

The AFC however handed six-match bans to Suwon player Ristikj Stevica and coach Ko Jung So, and Al Sadd’s goalkeeping coach Suhail Saber Ali for their roles in the October 19 scrap which forced the match to be temporarily stopped. The Qatari side eventually won the game 2-0 and progressed to the final after a 2-1 aggregate victory.

Their opponents on Saturday are South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who will be without skipper Cho Sunghwan and striker Lovrek Kruno after the AFC bosses ruled them out of the final for offences in their second-leg tie.

The 29-year-old Cho was given a yellow card in Jeonbuk’s game against Saudi side Al Ittihad, his second of the knock-out rounds, while Kruno received a second yellow late on.

“I was telling myself that I had to take care and not get one more yellow card but it was an unavoidable situation,” Cho told Korean media, referring to his booking just 12 minutes into the clash at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

“It is really sad that I cannot play in the final but there are so many good players in our team I am not worried about the match.”

Jeonbuk went through with a 2-1 victory over Al Ittihad in the second leg, to make it a 5-3 aggregate win.

Asian football fans were left open-mouthed by the vicious punch-up between Suwon and Al Sadd players and coaches.

The game, one of Asia’s biggest club matches of the season, was halted as both teams traded punches in a late melee.

The violence erupted late in the second half after Niang raced through for his breakaway second goal while much of Suwon’s team were tending to an injured player. The resulting pushing and shoving degenerated into an all-out brawl.

Kader and Stevica were sent-off as order was finally restored, while Niang was also given a one-match ban.