Independiente star hit with fish and stretchered off as grudge match descends into chaos

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Independiente striker Leandro Fernandez was the victim of a bizarre incident in a grudge match against Argentinian rivals Racing Club as he was struck by a projectile fish thrown from the stands. Players from both teams then huddled around as he received medical attention, before being stretchered off. 

Fernandez was struck in the second-half of Independiente’s match against Racing Club, with fireworks regularly unfolding whenever the two rivals meet. Video footage shows a fish flying through the air, allegedly thrown by an opposition fan, before hitting him square in the face. 

The 31-year-old immediately went to ground, presumably due to the pain but also the shock of what had just happened, and he was stretchered off after being checked out. Curiously enough, after further medical attention he was deemed fit to return to the action and continued playing throughout the second half. 

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Returning this year for his second spell at Independiente, Fernandez would likely have hoped to make a different impression after emerging from the bench at half time. To rub salt into the wounds, Racing Club went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Gabriel Hauche. 

Racing vs Independiente, also known as the Avellaneda derby, is considered one of the most important rivalries in Argentinian football alongside River Plate and Boca Juniors. The incident involving Fernandes, which highlights just how seriously some South American fans treat their rivalries, garnered plenty of attention on social media. 

With the player’s wellbeing assured, the jokes and puns rolled in on Twitter after what was one of the most surreal football-related events of 2022. “Wonder if it gave him a haddock?” joked @FerrisIF. “I’ll also pass on asking if this makes him the team kipper!”

Meanwhile, @MrPaulBrunton added: “I mean, we’re laughing but do we know the scale(s) of his injury?”. Plenty of others got in on the action, with @jg90191 tweeting: “No plaice in the game for that behaviour” and @vkon1 writing: “Eel probably regret it when he looks back on this.”

Fernandez was back in action just a few days later as Independiente took on Rosario Central. The forward was picked to start the match, but was substituted without getting on the scoresheet. 

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