Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Season When the Beautiful Game Went Fighting Mad; UEFA President Michel Platini Needs to Take Action after Last Night's Clash between Valencia and Inter Descended into More Violence

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Season When the Beautiful Game Went Fighting Mad; UEFA President Michel Platini Needs to Take Action after Last Night's Clash between Valencia and Inter Descended into More Violence

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE CORDING

PUNCHING, head-butting, snarling, spitting, pushing, shoving and brawling are just a few words that have become associated with the beautiful game this season as football has been dragged through more mud than you would find on a Sunday morning on Hackney Marshes.

Across Europe, from Valencia to Accrington, angry, overpaid footballers were at it again on another night of shame. The most disgraceful scenes came at the Mestalla Stadium as players from Valencia and Inter Milan started a mini-riot on the pitch which moved on into the tunnel and carried on in the changing rooms.

The Italians, unhappy at going out of the Champions League on away goals after the goalless draw, decided to seek their own style of retribution with the man at the heart of it a familiar figure.

Marco Materazzi launched himself at four players in the dying moments of the game and total mayhem ensued. The Italian was butted in the World Cup Final by Zinedine Zidane, an incident that seems to have been a catalyst for what has followed this season.

Last night tempers flared as Valencia midfielder Carlos Marchena kicked Inter's Nicolas Burdisso after the pair exchanged words. The situation then escalated and Valencia substitute David Navarro, who had not featured in the game, ran on to the pitch and punched Burdisso, leaving him with a broken nose.

Several Inter players tried to trip up Navarro as he ran off the pitch and the fighting continued in the tunnel.

Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo entered the Valencia dressing room, while Luis Figo and Inter's Esteban Cambiasso were involved in scuffles as they tried to follow him, with security guards having to intervene. Inter coach Roberto Mancini was disappointed by the incident. "A Valencia player went mad and hit Burdisso," he said. "He broke Burdisso's nose.

"Toldo saw the incident and it is possible he went into the Valencia dressing room. Players have to learn how to behave on the pitch. …

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