Two Cardiff teammates turned on one another immediately after the Bluebirds lost at home to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Tiago Silva scored the only goal of the game to down the hosts and move Forest up to third in the Championship – just three points behind second place Leeds.
It was a second successive defeat for Cardiff and means they are now six points behind Preston in sixth, with their play-off hopes fading fast.
And it was a disappointing loss for the Bluebirds, as Neil Harris’ side more than matched promotion-chasing Forest on the pitch – recording 18 total shots and hitting the target on four occasions.
This disappointment boiled over when the final whistle blew as Callum Paterson and Leandro Bacuna, Cardiff teammates, squared up to one another on the pitch.
Bacuna raised his hand to Paterson’s throat and the duo only separated when a third Cardiff player, Will Vaulks, intervened to separate them.
Manager Harris played down the incident after the match by saying he is fine if his players clash with one another – as long as it is in the heat of the moment, and such a bust-up is dealt with at that moment.
“I’ve got no complaint at all about passion,” said Harris. “I played like that, I manage like that, I like personality,
“I like character, I like a winning mentality and if there is an argument at full-time then it will boil down to the fact we didn’t win the game.
“In the heat of the moment, I’ve got no problem with that as long as the heat of the moment is dealt with, which it was, I saw that it was.
“In the modern world we just have to be careful doing it in public, out on the pitch. It could be seen as something more major than what it is. They are two good lads.”
talkSPORT got our man in Wales, Laurence Mora, on the phone on Wednesday to shed more light on the surprising on-pitch row.
“It boiled over on the far side,” Mora told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “Leandro Bacuna, who had come on in the second half at right-back, and Callum Paterson, who had been moved to the right, had been trying to chase down one of the Forest players and as the full-time whistle went they came to together and ‘discussed’ which one should have been doing what.
“One of them put their head into the other… there was a slap thrown and a kick out, and it was all very unseemly.
“Will Vaulks then dived in between them, and afterwards Neil Harris said we were making a mountain out of a molehill. He was very keen to play it down because he didn’t want that image of Cardiff being portrayed to their fans on that side of the pitch.
“He was playing it down in terms of saying, ‘it was just the heat of the moment’, and, I guess, sometimes when you are an elite sportsman, these things do boil over.”
Such an incident will always raise doubts over the spirit of the squad and whether there are real problems behind the scenes – after all, why would one lash out if everything is rosy?
However, Mora believes there are no issues and that the bust-up was simply to do with the Cardiff players being frustrated they lost a game in which they had, actually, played rather well.
“I don’t necessarily think it shows everything is unhappy behind the scenes,” added talkSPORT’s man in Wales. “I think it was very much in the moment.
“I think it is more about how frustrated they were to have played pretty well against Forest in most areas, but been really lacking a cutting edge, and to have lost by that one goal.
“I think it is more in the moment rather than any deeper lying problem.”
Listen to Laurence Mora on talkSPORT, above…