The latest soccer fighting tactic: Turning the corner flag into a spear

Angelo Preciado of Independiente Del Valle uses the corner flag as a weapon to fend off threats from opposing players. (Screenshot: Fox Sports)

It’s been an eventful week in the soccer sub-culture of South American in-game fights. This past weekend in Brazil, we had a seven-red-card, 15-minute brawl, and the brutal assault of a ball boy.

What both of those fights lacked, though, was a weapon. The bloodied ball boy surely could have used one. In fact, most soccer scraps are fistfights, all hands or feet and no accessories – aside from the occasional “ref pulls gun on player” instance. But that could be about to change.

A player in the Under-20 Copa Libertadores, the youth version of South America’s top continental competition, realized you don’t have to bring a weapon onto the field to defend yourself, because there are four already planted around the pitch.

Angelo Preciado, a youngster for Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle, was under threat from River Plate (Uruguay) players after the final whistle of Independiente del Valle’s 3-2 semifinal victory. So he made beeline for the corner flag, took it out of the ground, and turned it into a spear. Brilliant.

And no, we probably shouldn’t be praising him for threatening violence. But in a way, the corner flag ploy actually seemed to calm the situation. Nobody was going to go near it. The base of most corner flags are armed with a stake, just like you’d find in some sort of garden.

The only part of this that’s less brilliant is that the U-20 Libertadores final is on Saturday. Independiente del Valle is up against Nacional (Uruguay). And CONMEBOL, the South American soccer governing body, is evaluating its disciplinary options. Independiente del Valle’s manager said he hopes there are no sanctions. Good luck with that, boss.

– – – – – – –

Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.