Mexican side refuse to play for 4 minutes in protest. Opponents decide to score twice
There were bizarre scenes in the Mexican league last night as Veracruz players refused to play the opening four minutes and 20 seconds against Tigres to protest against unpaid wages.
Tigres joined the protest for the first 60 seconds but went on to score twice.
Eduardo Vargas scored the first after 1:39, while Andre-Pierre Gignac scored his 100th Liga MX goal by making it 2-0 after 3:55.
Veracruz then started playing but found themselves 3-0 down within eight minutes.
Colin Kazim-Richards did score a late consolation for Veracruz.
Veracruz owner Fidel Kuri said that he was "embarrassed for the fans" after the match and admitted that Tigres were well within their rights to score their two goals.
"The players wanted to send a message that wasn't discussed, but they are in their right," said Kuri. "We were once again the joke of the nation, or the world with this topic."
However, Veracruz forward Angel Reyna insisted that Tigres players knew they would protest for the first few minutes but carried on playing anyway.
Tigres captain Guido Pizarro admitted that the two clubs agreed on a one-minute protest but, just before kick-off, Veracruz's captain asked for a "three or five minute" protest instead. But Tigres didn't agree.
At full-time, Veracruz sarcastically applauded Tigres off the pitch for scoring twice during the protest.
"For them to make us responsible for a protest that they were making to their president I think is an error," said Pizarro. "We came here, respected what they put in the group (about a one-minute protest) ... and went through with it."
Some of Veracruz's debts stretch back six months but they were threatened with relegation if the players hadn't played.
Veracruz are now winless in 40 Liga MX games, with their latest victory coming in August 2018.
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