HomeTurkish Super Lig referee punched and kicked as violent scenes mar Ankaragucu...

Turkish Super Lig referee punched and kicked as violent scenes mar Ankaragucu draw

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Turkish referee Halil Umut Meler was punched and kicked in the head by Ankaragucu officials on Monday as violence marred the team’s 1-1 Super Lig draw with Rizespor.

Ankara-based side Ankaragucu conceded a 97th-minute equaliser in their home game against fellow mid-table outfit Rizespor, as an ill-tempered affair featuring two red cards devolved into chaos.

Having gone 1-0 up early on, the home side had Ali Sowe sent off in the 50th minute, with the forward being shown a second yellow card after appearing to catch his marker with a trailing arm inside his own half.

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Rizespor defender Emirhan Topcu also received his marching orders in stoppage time, shortly before Argentinian striker Adolfo Gaich levelled for the visitors.

Furious Ankaragucu officials then stormed onto the pitch after the full-time whistle, with one flooring Meler with a punch before being dragged away as players, coaches and officials surrounded the referee.

In another video, a second man can be seen kicking Meler in the head while he was on the turf holding his face.

Meler quickly got back to his feet but was seen with swelling under his eye in the aftermath of the incident, provoking fierce criticism of Ankaragucu as the footage circulated on social media.

Meler has been part of UEFA’s elite group of match officials since 2022 and has taken charge of three UEFA Champions League group-stage games this season, most recently Celtic’s 2-0 defeat to Lazio on November 28.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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