A friendly match between Scottish Premiership outfit Hearts and Spanish second tier side Almeria had to be abandoned after a huge fight between both teams broke out on the pitch on Sunday. The encounter was set up to help both sides gain match fitness during the World Cup break with their domestic seasons on pause but instead resulted in punches being thrown and coaches squaring up to each other in extraordinary footage.
The match was halted by the referee shortly before the interval in the 42nd minute when it appeared an incident off the ball occurred between Hearts’ Alex Cochrane and Almeria defender Rodrigo Ely.
The Brazilian appeared to take exception to the Hearts defender’s late challenge on his team-mate Alejandro Pozo and confronted him, sparking an incredible brawl between the two teams as they ran over to defend their team-mates.
Footage of the fight emerged on social media with punches launched from both sides, while coaches could be seen squaring up to each other as the incident threatened to spiral out of control.
Both players were shown red cards by the referee once the fracas had fizzled out, before the match official decided to abandon play altogether after consulting both teams.
Hearts posted a tweet confirming the match had been called off after the 24-man brawl: “Following altercations between both sets of players, the decision has been made to abandon the match.”
Almeria also confirmed that the game had been abandoned by the referee with an update from their official English language Twitter account, although the Spanish club provided little details about what had occurred. But according to local media, Cochrane’s challenge was the trigger for the melee.
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