Fenerbahce and Galatasaray players fight at the end of the Turkish Spor Toto Super league fotball match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce
AFP / OZAN KOSE
Arch Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce and Galatasaray on Sunday both claimed to be the aggrieved party after a fractious derby ended in nine cards and a mass brawl extraordinary even by the combustible standards of Turkish football.
Referee Firat Aydinus had already handed out five yellow cards when he blew the whistle on the critical match with the result 2-2 at Galatasaray's stadium on Friday night.
The players then approached the centre circle to shake hands but rather than greeting each other a mass brawl erupted with officials from both sides and substitutes rushing onto the pitch to get involved.
After the fight, the referee sent off three players and handed out another yellow card.
But there was no sign of contrition from either side after the confrontation, which only served to confirm the harshest stereotypes about the volatile nature of Turkish football.
Galatasaray issued a statement slamming the referee, saying that "some referees have a habit of making mistakes concerning the same team" and warning against "referees who provoke with their actions".
Fenerbahce meanwhile outlined five instances, complete with video evidence, where it said it had been the victim.
It called on the Turkish Football Federation (TFF), whose disciplinary committee is now expected to announce harsh sanctions for both clubs, "to look at every club and player as equal and not privilege anyone."
The game was of critical importance for both sides.
Fenerbahce are looking to resurrect their season after a dire start that saw them sack Dutch coach Phillip Cocu and languish just above the relegation zone in 15th.
Galatasaray are in second but four points behind leaders Basaksehir of Istanbul.