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Fight mars Brazil-Argentina Paralympic semifinal

Posted: Saturday September 25, 2004 1:02PM; Updated: Saturday September 25, 2004 1:02PM
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ATHENS, Sept 25 (Reuters) -- A mass brawl marred Brazil's 4-1 defeat of arch-rivals Argentina in the semi-final of the Paralympics soccer tournament on Saturday.

Tempers flared in the 56th minute of the seven-a-side contest, resulting in three Brazilians being sent off, including hat-trick hero Luciano Rocha, and one Argentine.

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Brazil will play Ukraine for the gold medal on Monday after they beat Russia 4-0.

"I can't explain what happened and I really feel sorry," said Rocha. "I don't know why the referee suspended me, since I wasn't involved in the incident.

"My team has already protested and I hope the video will prove that I didn't do anything, so that I will be able to help my team in the final."

Tempers flared when Brazil were already leading 4-0. Rocha had put them ahead in the 37th minute and then scored again two minutes later.

A third from Jose Guimares made the game safe and Rocha added a fourth in the 55th minute to compete his hat-trick.

Just a minute later Brazil's Flavio Pereira and Mario Sosa of Argentina became involved in a heated verbal conflict, triggering a mass brawl that held up play for five minutes.

Both players were sent off along with Rocha and fellow Brazilian Leandro Marinho.

With Argentina enjoying a 6-4 numerical advantage it was little surprise that they pulled a goal back when Marcos Silva scored an own goal.

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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