Top Tenner: Violent derbies

Posted by Nick Miller

10 -- Liverpool v Manchester United -- Premier League, 2009:

While the two sendings off in this 2-0 win for Liverpool happened in the 89th and 90th minutes, thus rendering them slightly irrelevant to the result of the game, the recipients of those red cards are worth noting. Something about this fixture clearly makes the blood of Nemanja Vidic and Javier Mascherano rise, for the pair managed to get themselves sent off five times between them, and in this Anfield encounter they both received their marching orders. One pictures them standing together in the tunnel, glancing at each other with a couple of 'One of those days' looks on their faces.

9 -- Arsenal v Tottenham -- Premier League, 2013:

While this doesn't quite live up to the heinous violence of some of the other games on this list, the red card in last season's encounter between these rivals was one of the more significant in the campaign. After 17 minutes, Spurs were rampant, 1-0 in the lead, a goal disallowed and utterly dominant. Then Emmanuel Adebayor cut Santi Cazorla in half, was dismissed and Spurs crumbled, eventually losing 5-2. They would go on to miss Champions League qualification to Arsenal, by a single point.

8 -- Palmeiras v Corinthians -- Campeonato Paulista, 1999:

Even in Brazil, showboating is usually frowned upon, so on one level it was hardly surprising when some Palmeiras players took exception to Edilson of Sao Paulo rivals Corinthians doing keepie-uppies on the halfway line during open play. Palmeiras full-back Junior decided enough was enough and took a wild swing at Edilson, before booting the ball at his opponent, inspiring chaotic scenes, with running battles taking place across the pitch. Eventually, order was restored, and Corinthians went on to take both the game and the Paulista title.

7 -- Inter Milan v AC Milan -- Champions League quarter-final, 2005:

Of course, the most likely place for a local derby to get spicy is in the stands, and Inter fans did not react at all well when a series of controversial decisions irked them in this Champions League game. That Milan goalkeeper Dida was hit by a flare thrown from the crowd was bad, but what was worse was the eventual abandonment of the game after Inter ultras continued to fling missiles onto the pitch. The game was awarded to Milan 3-0, while Inter were fined €200,000 and made to play four games behind closed doors.

6 -- El Salvador v Honduras -- World Cup qualifying, 1969:

This is cheating slightly as the violence didn't really take place on the pitch -- but the game did lead to a war. Well, sort of. Known as the 'Football War', a conflict between these two Central American countries was, of course, about much more than just sport, but it is associated with football after violent clashes between fans during three World Cup qualifiers. Indeed, El Salvador severed diplomatic ties with Honduras on the same day as they won the third of these ties -- a single-game playoff, 3-2, after extra-time. The war itself was brief, lasting barely a week, and El Salvador eventually qualified for the finals in Mexico.

5 -- Argentina v Brazil -- South American Championship, 1946:

A truly great rivalry essentially needs two things: 1) for those involved to really hate each other and 2) for those involved to be the best, to be fighting for the top prizes. Brazil and Argentina fit both of those criteria very well, and few games encapsulate the antipathy between the two sides more than the final match of the 1946 South American Championship. Short version: after a tense and provocative build-up, Brazil's Jair virtually ended Argentina captain Jose Salomon's career with a leg-breaking tackle, a fight ensued and around 500 people invaded the pitch to get involved themselves. The game eventually recommenced, only for Brazil's Ademir to be punched in the face. All good fun.

4 -- Barcelona v Real Madrid -- La Liga, 2002:

If the infamous game in which Jose Mourinho gouged Tito Vilanova's eye was a man, he'd be very disappointed to miss out here. However, for sheer surreality and sinister air, Luis Figo's return to the Nou Camp after his world-record transfer to Madrid takes it. Golf balls, bottles, lighters, coins -- these are all pretty common missiles to be thrown from the crowd, but an enterprising Barca fan (possibly with connections in the butcher trade) chose instead to hurl a pig's head at the 'turncoat'. Quite what it was supposed to symbolise is unclear, but you can bet it wasn't good.

Roy Keane felt no remorse after being sent off for Manchester United against Leeds in 2001.
GettyImagesRoy Keane felt no remorse after being sent off for Manchester United against Manchester City in 2001.

3 -- Manchester United v Manchester City -- Premier League, 2001:

This game featured just one significant act of violence, but boy was it significant, and four years in the making. In 1997, Roy Keane ruptured knee ligaments while tackling Leeds defender Alf Inge-Haaland, and while Keane was prostrate, the Norwegian told him to get up and stop faking it. Keane, it seems, remembered this quite well, and took his revenge when Haaland was playing for another of United's rivals. "The ball was there (I think)," Keane wrote in his autobiography after assaulting Haaland. "Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse." Chilling.

2 -- Celtic v Rangers -- Scottish Cup final, 1909:

Again, fertile ground for violent games, from the 1999 clash that saw referee Hugh Dallas struck on the head by a coin, to the 1980 game that caused laws against alcohol in grounds tightened in Scotland. However, it's tough to beat the 1909 Scottish Cup final replay when, after some confusion over whether extra-time would be played following a 1-1 draw, the crowd invaded the pitch, tore down goalposts and lit a bonfire in front of the stands at Hampden Park. Rather sensibly, no further replay occurred and the cup was 'withheld' by the SFA.

1 -- Claypole v Victoriano Arenas -- Argentinean fifth division, 2011:

Everyone enjoys a 'disgraceful incident' on the pitch, not least a brawl, but perhaps not one that causes every member of both teams (and then some) to be sent off and the game to be abandoned. Tensions had already been bubbling, and two players had been dismissed in this game between Buenos Aires rivals, before a mass brawl involving players, officials & even spectators broke out. Referee Damian Rubino panicked and started flashing red cards -- a world-record 36 in total, including all 22 starting players plus assorted other substitutes & staff. "Most players were trying to separate people. The ref was confused," Claypole manager Sergio Micielli claimed.

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