It was supposed to be a friendly game, but the exhibition match between the Hong Kong All Star Sports Association Ltd. and a mainland team turned into a free-for-all in Dongxing, Guangxi on Sunday, Headline Daily reported on Tuesday.
Cantopop icon and team manager Alan Tam said his team, composed of entertainment celebrities, were leading at six goals to one during half time.
The game became more heated in the second half, with rash challenges seen flying on the pitch.
It was 12 minutes from time when a player from the All Star team received a reckless challenge and a brawl ensued, with backroom staff also joining in.
The match had to be canceled as security staff intervened to separate the two sides.
Tam said they had complained to the referee at least thrice about the overzealous challenges from the opposing team.
Tam said he shook hands with the opponents in the changing room after the match and patched things up at a dinner.
The exhibition match was part of a series of activities marking the 30th anniversary of the All Star football team, with proceeds to be allocated to mainland charity projects.
Many mainland netizens who watched the game said the All Star team showed more sportsmanship than the local team, with the Hong Kong players offering a hand to opponents who fell during the scramble for the ball.
The local team did not reciprocate, however, the netizens said.
Other mainland netizens badmouthed the Hong Kong team, calling them “outdated old men” with bad temper.
Tam said the brawl was unfortunate, but his team considers it as water under the bridge, adding that the Dongxing city mayor offered an apology after the match.
The incident would have no bearing on future games the team will play on the mainland, he added.
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