SUNDERLAND’S stars were embroiled in an ugly bust-up in Dubai as their friendly match with Al-Shabab turned sour.
The Championship club have taken advantage of the World Cup break by heading to the Middle East themselves for a warm-weather training camp.
As part of the trip, Tony Mowbray’s team took on the Saudi Arabian side in order to get some match practice.
Sunderland took the lead through Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo.
However, with just over ten minutes remaining things began to get nasty as tempers boiled over.
And the North East outfit’s co-owner Juan Sartori even ended up on the pitch in an attempt to restore order.
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The Sunderland Echo claims that a number of naughty challenges throughout the opening half had led to anger mounting – especially when the goalscorer was sent tumbling “by a horrible scissor kick” on half hour.
Then the Black Cats’ striker Ellis Simms was booked as he clashed with an Al Shabab man and became embroiled in a shoving match.
Mowbray made wide-range substitutions at the break, but even the change of personnel failed to calm things down as Lynden Gooch clashed with a rival just minutes after the restart.
Then the explosive moment came just 13 minutes from time as both sets of players started fighting following a tackle on Sunderland’s Dennis Cirkin which saw the ref award a free-kick the opposite way.
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Gooch confronted the official to argue over the decision, but he was soon met by an Al-Shabab player – leading to a major melee.
Mowbray’s coaching staff raced on to the pitch along with Sartori as the match looked set to be abandoned.
But finally order was restored as both Gooch and his foe were taken off while the ref kept his red card in his pocket.
Sunderland resume their Championship season when they host Millwall at the Stadium of Light on December 3.
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