10 Matches with a Shocking Amount of Red Cards
A cursory glance at YouTube reveals dozens of South American football games that have descended into violent chaos, but a match in Argentina this week was particularly busy for the referee.
In Deportivo Roca's bout with Cipolletti, a brawl between players became so severe that riot police had to intervene. The ref ended up giving red cards to 12 players, forcing the suspension of the match.
In light of this illuminating lack of discipline, here are 10 other games with a surprising amount of red cards...
Portugal vs. Netherlands, 2006
Portugal's 2006 World Cup clash with the Netherlands is informally referred to as The Battle of Nuremberg, due to its tempestuous nature.
During the round-of-16 match, Russian referee Valentin Ivanov saw fit to issue 16 yellow cards and four reds—the highest amount of any FIFA tournament.
Both sides finished the match with nine men, with Khalid Boulahrouz, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Costinha and Deco all getting their marching orders for amassing two yellow cards each in separate incidents.
Bumbling FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that the referee himself deserved a yellow card for his performance, in one of numerous remarks for which he has had to subsequently apologise for.
Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray, 2002
There's seldom any love lost between Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce and Galatasaray when they meet, and their league clash in February 2002 was typically ill-mannered.
Fener defeated the league leaders 1-0 in a scrappy game, but Gala conspired to have four of their players sent off. All the reds came in the second half, leaving them with just seven men on the pitch at the final whistle.
Four seems to be the magic number in the Istanbul derby, as that many red cards were shown in both a cup game and a league game in the 2007-08 season. A feisty 2012 encounter also saw two reds and fourteen yellows.
Atletico Madrid vs. Osasuna, 2007
Osasuna came away from their January 2007 visit to Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium with a 1-0 defeat—and a lengthy list of player bans.
There were four red cards shown—all to Osasuna players. Carlos Cuellar, Roberto Soldado and Ricardo Lopez were all given their marching orders in the second half, with Raul Garcia also earning a straight red in the 96th minute.
Chesterfield vs. Plymouth Argyle, 1997
The English record for red cards in a single match is five, a tally that was reached twice in 1997.
In February, Plymouth Argyle's visit to Chesterfield got off to a bad start when a Plymouth player was dismissed for a two-footed lunge. In the final minute of the match, Plymouth goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar went down injured from a challenge, sparking a brawl that saw an additional four players sent off.
Bristol Rovers vs. Wigan Athletic, 1997
In December of 1997, Wigan Atheltic's match at Bristol Rovers saw five red cards, four of which came in the first half.
After a Rovers defender was dismissed by referee Kevin Lynch for two bookings, a goal-mouth brawl in first-half injury time saw two more players ejected for the visitors and one for Wigan (as per The Independent), with Rovers down to eight men before the start of the second period.
In the 71st minute, Rovers midfielder Josh Low was given an early shower for a second booking.
Espanyol vs. Barcelona, 2003
The record for the most red cards in a Spanish Primera match was set during Barcelona's visit to local rivals Espanyol in December 2003.
A total of six players were dismissed, with two straight reds and four double yellows. Incredibly, the dismissals all came from separate incidents, rather than one mass brawl.
Recreativo Linense vs. Saladillo De Algeciras, 2009
A Spanish regional first-division match in January 2009 descended into farce when the referee issued a whopping 19 red cards.
According to The Guardian, the bout between Recreativo Linense and Saladillo de Algeciras took a turn for the worse when a Recreativo red card inspired a huge brawl that led to the game being abandoned.
In the dressing rooms, the referee proceeded to dismiss a further nine players from each side.
Sportivo Ameliano vs. General Caballero, 1993
Paraguayan sides Sportivo Ameliano and General Caballero—shown above playing in 2010—entered the record books in 1993 when one of their encounters produced 20 red cards.
According to The Guardian, the dismissal of two Sportivo players inspired a 10-minute brawl that resulted in the abandonment of the match and a score of reds.
Claypole vs. Victoriano Arenas, 2011
The world record for red card distribution in a senior match was set in a 2011 match between Argentine sides Claypole and Victoriano Arenas.
After two players were dismissed in the first half, the second period descended into a flurry of dangerous lunges and fights, leading to a mass brawl involving players, coaches and fans.
According to The Independent, referee Damian Rubino gave every single player a red card and issued 14 further dismissals to substitutes and coaches.
That's a total of 36 red cards.
Teniente Farina vs. Libertad, 2012
In the dying minutes of a Paraguayan youth match between Teniente Farina and Libertad, referee Nestor Guillen dismissed two players for violent conduct. The players continued to fight on the field and the situation escalated into a chaotic mass brawl.
The man in charge decided the best course of action was to red card every player from both squads, giving a grand total of 36 red cards.