As he was standing on the sideline waiting to go back onto the field, a scuffle broke out after a bad tackle by a Guangzhou player. Santalab approached the Guangzhou player and told him “don’t cheat, stay on your feet and play football.”
According to Santalab, the player in question was sparked by this comment and grabbed him around the throat and then pushed him in the face.
The referee made a quick decision to send the Guangzhou player from the pitch, reducing them to ten men and also issued Santalab a red card, disabling him from being used as a substitute. The send off did not harm Chengdu’s result as they were 2-1 down at the time and with the opposition losing a player, managed to grab a 2-2 draw.
The point enabled Chengdu to go seven points clear of third-placed Shanghai East Asia and remain even with Guangzhou with just six matches remaining in the season
Santalab, who has become Chengdu’s favourite son since joining from North Queensland Fury last year, was suspended for four matches and hit with a fine of $3000 for the incident.
He is hoping the Blades can continue their good recent form and gain promotion to the Chinese Super League so he can honour the second year of his contract in the top flight.