Moments when football matches turned into a battle of supremacy

Photo: EPA
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Legendary football coach Bill Shankly once said

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Although football is a game full of entertainment and body contacts but sometimes this game turn into a battle where the game is played not only for entertainment but also to prove supremacy over the opponent in every aspect (religion, politics and many others) of life. Players become blood-thirst soldiers and try to crush their opponent. Then a minor time-waste or simulation of foul can cause a brawl and turn the football ground into bloody battle-field. Here are the top instances where this beautiful game turned into a warfare:

1) Serbia U21 vs. England U21: The match between these two teams witnessed the greatest brawl in recent days. The environment was heated from the very first minute as the Serbia fans were racially abusing the dark players of England especially left-back Danny Rose. A goal from Connor Wickham in the 90+4 minute added fuel to the already hot environment. Danny Rose gestured something to the Serbian fans after receiving a second yellow card. This caused an outburst of emotion and the Serbian fans attacked the football pitch. England goalkeeping coach Martin Thomas, Steve Wigley and Jack Butland suffered serious injuries in the hand of the home fans.

2)Nacional vs Penarol: The rivalry between these two Montevideo-based teams is considered to be one of the most dangerous football rivalry of South America. On April,1990 in a match of Copa Competencia the two teams engaged in a brawl. Referee Eduardo Dluzñiewsky sent off total 22players of both sides. The game was ultimately abandoned in the 85th minute.

Another such brawl took place in the Clausura of 2000. Nacional had to defeat Penarol to curb the chances of Penarol of becoming champions. The match ended in 1-1 draw.

Penarol coach Julio Ribas alongwith his students Martín García, Marcelo De Souza, Fabián Césaro, Darío Rodríguez, Jose Enrique De los Santos and Federico Elduayen and Marco Vanzini, Mario Regueiro and Richard Morales of Nacional faced imprisonment.

3) Sheffield United vs West Bromwich Albion: Known as the famous ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’ the two teams have a tense relationship. In 2002 THE BLADES faced the toughest game of their history. 3 Sheffield players were sent off and two left the field for injury thus leaving the team with six players. As the rule is that if a team looses more than 4players the game has to be called off so Westbromwich Albion got a walkover.

4) Potiguar vs Baraúnas: The game between these two Brazilian lower division teams held in April,2014 was full of tussles and scuffles. Both the teams received 4red cards. The game ended in favour of Portigua by 2-1.

5)Manchester united vs Arsenal: These two English giants still maintain a fierce rivalry which was started in 1990 at Old Trafford. On October,1990 the league match between these two teams ended in a 21man tussle after Gunner left-back Nigel Winterburn plunged onto Dennis Irwin. FA deducted one point of Manchester united and two points of Arsenal.

Another similar brawl occured in 2003-04 season. In the last minute of the match Manchester united got a penalty. Ruud van Nistelrooy took the kick but the shot rattled the post. Arsenal defender Martin Keown, Ashley Cole and Ray Parlour mocked Nistelrooy for missing the penalty and this led to a brawl. 5 Arsenal players and Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo were sanctioned by FA for loosing temper.

6) Tientine Farina vs Libertad: The match between these two Paraguayan teams turned into a battle after the referee sent off two players. The fight went to such an extent that the referee and the assistant referees had to flee to save their life. This match became a disgrace to football as whooping 36players got marching orders.

7) Brazil vs Hungary: The famous ‘Battle of Berne’ occurred in 1954 World cup quarter-final when the two giants of football locked horns with each other.

The match which was supposed to be one of the most beautiful matches turned to be a disgrace to football.4red cards were shown in the match and the brawl continued even in the tunnel and dressing room. 42 freekicks,2 penalties, 3yellow cards and 4 red cards made the match a bad memory in football world.

8) Netherlands vs Portugal: Also known as the ‘Battle of Nuremberg’ this match hold the record in which 4players were sent off in a World cup match surpassing the record 1938 match between Brazil vs Czechoslovakia.

Costinha and Deco of Portugal and Van Bronckhorst and Boulharouz of Netherlands were given the marching order. 5 Portugal players were shown yellow cards and 3 Dutch players were cautioned.

9) Brazil vs Czechoslovakia: The famous ‘Battle of Bordeaux’ was the first match in world cup where 3players were sent off. In the match held in Parc Lescure(present Stade Chaban-Delmas) a series of brutal fouls as a result of lax officiating of Hungarian referee Pal von Hertzka made the match a dark patch in football world. Jan Riha of Czechoslovakia and Machado and Zeze Propocio of Brazil were given the marching order.

In the fight Czechslovakian captain Frantiscek Planicka, Oldrich Nejedly broke their right arm and right respectively while their teammate Josef Kostalek suffered an injury in his stomach. On the other hand Brazilian legend Leonidas and Peracio left the field with injuries.

10) Italy vs England: Known as the famous ‘Battle of Highbury’ this match is considered to be the most violent match of its time. England being regarded as one of the strongest teams of that time faced the defending world champions Italy in an environment occupied by the tensions between England and Fascist Benito Mussolini. The record of the match being that it is the first match where seven players of a single team participated was marred by the violent tackles from the very beginning.

In the second minute of the match Italian centre back Luis Monti suffered a broken leg after a brutal tackle from Ted Drake. This compelled Italy to play with 10men as no substitution rule was formed then. England took advantage of this injury and went ahead by 3-0 within 15minutes after goals from Eric Brooks(2) and Ted Drake.

Italy came back strongly in the second half as the legendary Giuseppe Meazza scored twice and was denied a hattrick by the post and brilliant saves from Frank Moss. Although England won the match but the fighting spirit of the Italians even after lossing their main centre back earned them the nickname ‘Lions of Highbury’.

In the violence of the match England captain Eddie Hapgood broke his nose, Bowden broke his ankle, Ted Drake was punched and Eric Brooks fractured his arm. Legendary Stanley Mathews considered this match to be the most violent match of his long playing career.

11) Italy vs Chile: This match also known as ‘Battle of Santiago’ is of immense importance in football. The referee of this match, Ken Aston, gave birth to the idea of yellow card and red card. This violent match took place between Italy and Chile in Santiago in 1962. The environment was tensed after two Italian journalist said foul words about Santiago and Chile reporters also fired back.

The first foul occured in the 12seconds of the match. Italy’s Giorgio Ferrini was sent off in the 12th minute of the match after his foul on Chile’s Honorino Landa. Landa retaliated with the punch but his act escaped the eyes of the referee. Chile’s Leonel Sanchez punched Italy’s Mario David but this time also the referee overlooked it. But when Mario David hit Sanchez few minutes later,the referee sent him off.

Sanchez also broke Humberto Musachio’s nose with a left hook but the referee didn’t sent him off. This enraged the Italians and the two teams engaged in brawl. BBC sports commentator described this match as the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful match in the history of football.

12) Celtic vs Racing Club: Known as the ‘Battle of Montevideo’ this three-leg tie between Celtic vs Racing club occured in finals of Intercontinental cup in 1967. The first leg was won by Celtic by 1-0 margin as their captain Billy Mcneill scored a header in the 69th minute of the match. In the first leg the cynical fouls and spitting of Racing club created restlessness in the Celtic players. However Celtic players were drained by the knocking of the Racing players. Billy Mcneill had a black eye, Berti Auld was headbutted and Bobby Lennox suffered an ear injury due to a vicious blow.

In the second leg the unsportsmanship behavior of the Racing fans marred the match. In the very beginning of the match goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson of Celtic was struck by an object thrown from the crowd and badly injured and was substituted by John Fallon. Racing club won the match by 2-1 with the help of Norberto Raffo and Juan Cardenas. The Racing fans invaded the dressing room of Celtic and fight broke out between the Argentine and Uruguayan supporters(who flocked into the stadium to support Celtic). The play-off at Montevideo made the match a disgrace to football.

From the very beginning the Racing club players started their cynical fouls and made the environment tense. The lack of composure of Celtic and the incapability of Paraguayan referee, Rodolfo Perez Osorio made the match a shamble. In the 14th minute of the match the two teams engaged in fighting followed by a brutal foul on Jimmy Johnstone by Juan Rulli. The Uruguan riot police brought the environment under control. The referee sent off Bobby Lennox of Celtic and Alfio Basile of Racing club.

On the 48th minute of the match Johnstone was sent off for lashing out at Rulli. At the 54th minute Cardenas scored the only goal of the match with a strong left-footer from 25yards. On the 74th minute John Hughes was sent off for kicking Racing goalkeeper Cejas while he was lying on the pitch. Then Rulli was sent off for punching John Clark. In the 88th minute the two teams again engaged in a melee and the Uruguayan riot police again had to intervene to bring situations under control. Berti Auld was given the marching order but he refused to leave and continued to play the full match. Tommy Gemmel hit one of the racing players in the genitals but his actions escaped the eyes of referee. Total 30fouls were committed by Celtic and 21fouls were committed by Racing. After the end of the match the Uruguayan supporters who were supporting Celtic threw whatever they could upon the Racing players.

13) Allianz Lima vs Real Garcilaso: The match between these two teams of Peru saw a spreeing of red card in the last 5minutes of the match. Garcilaso were 1-0 up from the 54th minutes against the home team. The frustration of the home team got better of their sportsmanship but the situation was strongly handled by referee Ramon Blanco. 4 Allianz Lima players were sent off along with their coach Guillermo Sanguinetti. Referees Association of Peru praised Blanco for his dominant attitude in the match.