Hanoi T&T took a 1-0 away win over Hai Phong Cement in an excessively aggressive match at the Lach Tray Stadium in V-League's seventh round on Sunday.
Two red cards and seven yellow cards were given, and referee Nguyen Trong Thu's work has generated controversy and accusations he was biased in favor of the home players.
Though they had predicted the match would be "hot", the Hai Phong City Police had a difficult time restoring order.
After hosts Hai Phong conceded the opener in the second half, major general Tran Ba Thieu, director of Hai Phong City Police, had to leave his seat in the stands to directly give orders for the security forces to arrest rowdy fans.
At least two fans were taken out of the field in a police car. Members of the mobile police squad were standing among the spectators and kept all their attention on the work, but could not prevent hundreds of plastic bags of water and even plastic shoes from being thrown on to the field.
Several times during the match, the home fans abused referee Thu, ignoring the stadium management's appeals through loudspeakers asking the fans to keep calm.
After the match, Hai Phong players entered an area near the press conference room and hundreds of home fans surrounded the locked door.
Many of them called the players' names and abused them with obscene words.
One fan even broke a glass window with a stone. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. And more than half an hour later, the referees and two teams were escorted to their vehicles surrounded by angry fans hurling foul abuse.
During the match, players of both teams lost control several times, leading to quarrels and coming close to fisticuffs.
First, Trong Nghia of the home team ignored the ball and kicked Caue Benicio. Later, Hanoi T&T's Cao Sy Cuong tackled Ekpe Aniekan and captain Leandro Da Luz of Hai Phong. Nghia and Cuong were sent off with red cards.
In other violent interactions, Then Minh Chau of Hanoi T&T kicked Duy Nam and Leandro hit Hanoi T&T's Duc Duong on the head with his elbow in retaliation.
There was a collision between Duc Thang and Duy Nam, and several objects were thrown at Duc Thang. Blood streamed down Thang's face and the Hanoi T&T midfielder was replaced by another.
Worse still, left back Van Nam of Hai Phong hit scorer Gonzalo Marronkle on the head, but referee Thu did not penalize him.
After the match, Hai Phong captain Leandro ran to the visiting team's dugout and shook his fist in the faces of the visitors.
There was also another controversial situation in the second half when referee Thu decided to give Hanoi T&T a penalty kick because he thought that Hai Phong goalkeeper Xuan Viet had tackled Trong Hai.
However, replays showed that Viet had touched the ball before Hai.
Fortunately, Hanoi T&T captain Cristiano Roland couldn't score from the penalty spot and the score remained 1-0.
The win secured Hanoi T&T the top place with 15 points while Hai Phong Cement dropped four places to eleventh eight points.
Khanh Hoa jumped three places to third with 13 points with a 1-0 away victory over Dong Tam Long An, who fell four spots to twelfth with eight points.
Hoa Phat Hanoi climbed four places to fifth with 11 points after a 2-1 home win against Dong Thap, who slid three places to seventh with 10 points. However, Dong Thap still have a match in hand.
A 1-0 home win over Navibank Saigon lifted Thanh Hoa two places to eighth with 10 points while the losers from Ho Chi Minh City remained second from last with five points.
Evaldo Goncaves scored four goals at Pleiku Stadium as hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai hammered Nam Dinh 5-0 and moved two places up to 10th with nine points while Nam Dinh remained at the bottom with only one point.
In the two early matches on Friday, hosts Binh Duong thrashed Ninh Binh 4-0 at Go Dau Stadium while Nghe An playing at home walloped defending champions Da Nang 5-0.
Binh Duong jumped three places to second with 13 points and Nghe An climbed two places to ninth with nine points.
Ninh Binh dropped three places to sixth with 11 points while Da Nang slid two places to fourth with 12 points. However, Da Nang still have one match in hand because their match against Dong Thap in the second round on February 7 was postponed to May 19.