The 2021/22 Turkish Super Lig season has kicked-off earlier this week and title favorites Galatasaray easily passed their first test with flying colors, beating newly promoted Giresunspor 2-0 at the Cotanak Stadium in Giresun. However, the biggest talking point from that match wasn’t the Cimbom‘s comfortable win over their opponents, it was the red card received by Galatasaray’s Brazilian defender Marcao, which he got from assaulting teammate Kerem Akturkoglu.
Mbaye Diagne, returning from a brief loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, had given Galatasaray the 1-0 lead in the 31st minute, before Alexandru Cicaldau, a new signing from CS Universitatea Craiova, ensured all three points with a successful penalty on his Super Lig debut, right at the stroke of half-time.
Giresunspor goalkeeper Okan Kocuk had denied Diagne his brace after saving the Senegalese’s penalty in the 40th minute, however Kocuk was powerless to stop Cicalcau from adding to the Turkish powerhouses’ advantage.
Both Marcao and Akturkoglu had a verbal disagreement with the latter telling the former to “shut up,” before three minutes after the hour-mark, Marcao made a mad dash from his post in the Galatasaray defense, confronted Akturkoglu, before headbutting the winger and punching him.
The incident was immediately referred to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and Marcao, who was restrained by his teammates to prevent any further escalation, was deservedly given his marching orders by the referee.
Marcao’s red card had placed Galatasaray’s advantage under question but the Cimbom managed to held onto their lead quite admirably until the end of the match.
Galatasaray head coach Fatih Terim had this to say in the post-match press conference, as quoted from BBC Sport, “It’s not a common occurrence. We all have all kinds of arguments in the dressing room, on the field. This is the first time I have seen such a position with his own team-mate on the field.”
The legendary head coach then continued, “We don’t know what’s going on yet. Whatever it is, it’s not nice. This incident was not pleasant in any way, but the solution belongs to us. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out somehow.”
Marcao’s unsportsmanlike conduct could land him in further hot water as a lengthy suspension may await him, with the suspension to be added to the matches that he will miss thanks to his red card.
“Marcao will first come out and apologize to Kerem, his team-mates, Galatasaray fans, Turkish football and everyone,” continued Terim, “We’ll see later.”
Footballers fighting their teammates on the pitch is something that’s quite uncommon in the game these days, but there are a number of notable incidents in the past.
Lee Bowyer infamously fought with Newcastle United teammate Kieron Dyer in a 2005 league defeat to Aston Villa, while Graeme Le Saux punched David Batty in Blackburn Rovers’ UEFA Champions League match against Spartak Moscow in 1995.
More recently, Hugo Lloris pushed Son Heung-min in a half-time disagreement as Tottenham Hotspur won 1-0 over Everton in a Premier League match back in July of 2020. The two players made amends during the break though and they embraced at the end of the match.