RIO DE JANEIRO: Veteran striker Romario scored a hat-trick to help Fluminense thump Guarani 5-2 in the Brazilian championship after the visitors had three players sent off and also argued with police over a refereeing decision on Sunday.
Police came on to the field in the 85th minute to protect the match officials, who were surrounded by furious Guarani players protesting the award of a penalty to Fluminense.
Play was held up for five minutes as Guarani players and around half a dozen policemen, some raising their truncheons, pushed, shoved, threatened and pointed fingers at each other in the penalty area.
When play resumed, Romario, 37, completed his hat-trick by coolly converting the penalty.
And then after that Guarani defender Paulao was sent off for dissent.
Romario was playing his second game since returning from a three-month stint with Qatar club Al Sadd, where he appeared in three games, failed to score and pocketed more than US$1mil.
The striker, who scored on his return against Goias last week, opened his account in the 48th minute with a bicycle kick from close range before adding his second with a clinical finish 11 minutes later.
Midfielders Zada and Josafa gave Fluminense a 2-0 halftime lead. Marquinhos replied twice for the visitors in the second half.
In addition to Paulao, Guarani had Alex sent off for a late tackle in the 35th minute and Lucio dismissed for kicking an opponent in injury time.
Fluminense moved up to 10th in the table and Guarani dropped to 13th.
There were more fireworks in Campinas where Corinthians struck twice in the last 10 minutes through Rogerio, who had also scored their first goal, and Liedson to force a 3-3 draw with Ponte Preta.
Thirteen players were booked and Ponte Preta, who led 3-1 through Nene, Adrianinho and a Cesar own goal, had Nene and Conceicao sent off in the last two minutes for violent conduct.
Leaders Cruzeiro stayed top with a 1-0 win at Juventude despite missing four players called up for the Confederations Cup Maurinho, Alex and Edu Dracena, who are playing for Brazil, and Victor Aristizabal, who is with Colombia.
Mota scored the only goal in the 16th minute.
Cruzeiro are two points ahead of Internacional, who beat Parana 2-1.
Struggling Figueirense and Fortaleza, both under new coaches, fought out a 2-2 draw in Florianopolis.
Artur Neto took charge of Figueirense for the first time while Luis Carlos Cruz returned to Fortaleza less then three months after resigning. Reuters