Weirdest reasons football matches were abandoned from UFOs to deportations

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Brazil and Argentina played just eight minutes of their World Cup qualifying clash at the weekend following the unexpected arrival of health officials which forced the game to a close.

With four Premier League players then asked to leave the pitch following confusion over their documentation – Lionel Messi led his team off the playing surface before they flew back to Buenos Aires.

And although that failed fixture will go down in history as one of the most bizarre endings to a match – it pales in comparison to some of the weirdest abandonments in the record books.

Daily Star Sport have now put together a top seven of the most odd and memorable early conclusions to fixtures – including the presence of firearms and scares with unidentified flying objects.

7. Deportations

In at seven is the confusion that forced a premature end to Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Argentina at the weekend – which was even slammed by the hosts.

After Anvisa health officials stormed onto the pitch to try and deport Argentina players, the game was eventually called to a halt and the visitors flew home the same evening.

That was due to the quarantine rules that apply when arriving in Brazil from the UK – with confusion over the documentation of both Tottenham and Aston Villa stars.

The Brazilian Football Confederation said on Monday: "With the match having already started, Anvisa could have exercised its activity in a much more appropriate manner in the various moments and days prior to the match."

6. Battle of Bramall Lane

Important enough to have its own Wikipedia page, the "Battle of Bramall Lane" took place between hosts Sheffield United and West Brom in the second tier on March 16 2002.

After Blades keeper Simon Tracey was sent off in the ninth minute for handling the ball outside his area, Scott Dobie gave his side and it was later doubled by Derek McInnes.

Neil Warnock then brought on Georges Santos and Patrick Suffo, and they were both sent off within minutes due to a dangerous two-footed tackle and headbutt respectively.

Dobie then made it 3-0 against the eight men, with United players Michael Brown and Robert Ullathorne then getting injuries which put the away side down to six – which by the rules forces an abandonment.

It remains the only match in Football League history to be abandoned due to lack of players.

5. FA Cup brawl

An FA Cup tie had to be abandoned as recently as last month – despite there being only minutes of the match remaining.

During the closing stages of a preliminary round clash between Mossley and Lower Breck at Mossley's Seel Park, the Northern Premier League Division One West side went 2-0 up.

The action came to a halt when some clashes broke out between home fans and Lower Breck players behind one of the goals, with the incident shared on social media.

Referee Steven Lennon paused before blowing his whistle to confirm the game had been abandoned.

4. Left in the dark

Although floodlight failure is not uncommon even now, only one side have faced such humiliation during their opening fixture at a new stadium in the top flight.

Derby County took on Wimbledon at Pride Park back in August of 1997 in the Premier League, but the clash would only last 11 minutes into the second half.

After some waiting around, referee Uriah Rennie was forced to bring the match to a close with the hosts leading 2-1 in their second fixture of the campaign.

Club official Peter Gadsby said: “We had 11 maintenance people on duty, including six electricians, but nobody has yet worked out why both generators failed."

3. 36 red cards

What is the strangest thing you have witnessed on a football pitch? Let us know in the comments section

The final few moments of the match between Paraguayan outfits Teniente Farina and Libertad back in of October 2012 do really have to be seen to be believed.

After sending off one player from each side following a scrap, referee Nestor Guillen lost control as the dismissed men refused to leave the field.

With both teams getting involved and turning in incident into a brawl, the official and his colleagues decided that peace-making wasn't an option and promptly abandoned the game.

In his match report, Guillen stated that he red carded every player and staff member from both teams, which was a total of 36 dismissals.

Teniente Farina president Hernan Martinez said: "As soon as the fighting broke out they went to the dressing room. They ran through the tunnel to their dressing room. They weren’t able to see anything that happened."

2. President's gun

PAOK Salonika's president Ivan Savvidis was handed a three-year ban after entering the pitch with a gun in his holster during a top-flight game against AEK Athens in Greece.

He entered the playing surface alongside many supporters after Fernando Varela's goal was ruled out for offside, and the game was promptly abandoned.

He said: "My only aim was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocation, riots and human casualties.

"Please believe that I had no intention to engage in a brawl with our opponents or the referees. And I obviously did not threaten anybody."

1. Unidentified Flying Objects

During Fiorentina vs Pistoiese in 1954, the game was temporarily suspended when unidentified flying objects were spotted in the sky above Florence.

Tens of thousands of fans had gathered at the Stadio Artemi Franchi, and many were left pointing to the sky instead of watching the action on the pitch.

One of the players on the field that day, Italy international Ardico Magnini, remembers it clearly.

"I remember everything from A to Z," he is quoted as saying by the BBC.

"It was something that looked like an egg that was moving slowly, slowly, slowly. Everyone was looking up and also there was some glitter coming down from the sky, silver glitter.

"We were astonished we had never seen anything like it before. We were absolutely shocked."

Gigi Boni, who was in the crowd, said: "I remember clearly seeing this incredible sight.

"They were moving very fast and then they just stopped. It all lasted a couple of minutes. I would like to describe them as being like Cuban cigars.

"They just reminded me of Cuban cigars, in the way they looked."

  • Premier League
  • FA Cup
  • World Cup
  • UFO

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