6 Memorable Red Cards in Champions League, EPL Club History
Roy Keane said it was deserved while Gary Neville said it was not. The red card given to Nani yesterday during Manchester United's second leg match with Real Madrid is the biggest topic in European football right now.
With United leading 2-1 on aggregate, Nani was given a straight red for a high footed challenge that possibly connected with Alvaro Arbeloa's ribs in the 56th minute. Sir Alex Ferguson and the Old Trafford faithful were incensed and felt it was a harsh punishment.
Real went on to score two goals and walk away winners.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, it happened, the game's over and we have to accept it.
Unfortunately, in huge contests such as these a sending off is particularly devastating. It can change the course of a match and end the dream for a team and its fan base of winning European football's greatest trophy.
Manchester United is not the only English club to be on the receiving end of a red card in a critical European match. There have been a number over the last 10 years.
Here's a look at some of the most recent red cards handed out to English clubs in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Robin Van Persie: Barcelona vs. Arsenal, May 2011
After 55 minutes, Arsenal were still up on aggregate 3-2 and holding on defensively. In the 56th minute, Robin van Persie was shown a yellow card for taking a shot on goal seconds after the referee had blown his whistle.
Having picked up a yellow card in the first leg, van Persie was sent off and Arsenal were down to 10 men. The fact that van Persie claimed to not hear the whistle over the cheers of the 90,000 cheering Catalans was deemed irrelevant.
Barcelona went on to score two goals in the last quarter of the match and held on for a 4-3 aggregate victory.
Rafael Da Silva: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich, April 2010
Manchester United entered the second leg of their 2010 semi-final match with Bayern Munich down 2-1. Spurred on by the home crowd, United went up 3-0 for a 4-2 aggregate after 41 minutes.
In the 50th minute, United defender Rafael da Silva received his second yellow card of the game for a foul on Franck Ribery. Some felt that the Bayern players influenced the referee to produce the card that reduced United to 10 men.
Bayern came back and Arjen Robben's 74th minute goal enabled the Germans to progress to the finals based on away goals.
Didier Drogba: Chelsea vs. Manchester United, May 2008
In an all English encounter, Manchester United and Chelsea were locked in a 1-1 tie deep in to over time. In the 116th minute, Drogba hit out at United's Nemanja Vidic and was immediately given a red card.
The match went to penalties in the Moscow rain. Down 6-5, Chelsea captain John Terry slipped and missed and United were crowned European Champions.
While we'll never know what might have happened, Drogba was expected to have a role in the penalty shoot-out.
Jens Lehman: Barcelona vs. Arsenal, May 2006
Arsenal faced Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League Final in Paris. Unfortunately, the match was marred by a decision in just the 18th minute of play.
Arsenal's eccentric German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann made history by becoming the first player to receive a red card in a Champions League Final.
With Samuel Eto'o heading towards the goal, Lehmann fouled the player. Ludovic Giuly put in the rebound but the referee had already blown the whistle and sent the goalkeeper off. Robert Pires was the unfortunate player to be sacrificed and Manuel Almunia came in to replace Lehmann in goal.
Many criticized the decision and felt that Giuly's goal should have stood with Lehmann receiving a yellow card rather than a straight red.
Despite playing with ten men for the bulk of the match, Sol Campbell's 37th minute header held up until Eto's equalizer in the 76th minute.
Four minutes later, Juliano Belletti scored Barcelona's winner.
Didier Drogba: Barcelona vs. Chelsea, February 2005
Chelsea traveled to the Camp Nou for the first leg of their Round of 16 meeting with Barcelona in February 2005.
A Juliano Belletti own goal gave Chelsea the lead in the 33rd minute.
Ten minutes after the restart Didier Drogba was at the center of controversy. The striker was given a straight red after clashing with Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes. Drogba had every right to go for the ball and the dismissal was seen by many as unjust.
Maxi Lopez and Samuel Eto'o went on to score and Barcelona won the match 2-1.
Despite the red card, Chelsea were able to turn things around during the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
A 4-2 victory saw the Londoners go through to the last eight with a 5-4 aggregate score.
Roy Keane: Porto vs. Manchester United, February 2004
Roy Keane's comments on Nani's red card most likely come from experience.
In February 2004, Keane was the recipient of his 11th career red card during Manchester United's first leg match at Porto in the Round of 16.
Late in the game with his team trailing 2-1, Keane let his infamous temper get the better of him yet again. The United captain deliberately stamped on Porto's goalkeeper Vitor Baia; studs and all. It earned Keane an automatic red card.
The second leg at Old Trafford ended in a 1-1 draw and Porto moved on to the next round with a 3-2 aggregate victory.