Brazilian referee Joao Batista de Arruda appeared to have lost control during a match between Rio de Janeiro rivals Flamengo and Vasco da Gama.
With just five minutes remaining in the match a fairly innocuous trip sparked a 22-man scuffle as tempers flared and other players attempted to calm the scene.
With the teams part of a four-horse race for the title that is separated by two points, tensions were high.
Coaches and substitutes even entered the field as the referee took an age deciding a course of action - players continued to posh and shove and chase each other before it eventually settled down.
The four officials then congregated in the middle of the pitch to decide who was to blame.
After a quick chat Batista de Arruda eventually sent off four players in rapid succession (skip to 1min 30s), two from each side.
Anderson Pico and substitute Paulinho were sent off for Flamengo and Pablo Guinazu and Bernado, another sub, for visitors Vasco.
Flamengo held on for a 2-1 win.Reuse content