Maddest derby moments
As every football fan in the world will tell you, there’s something different about derby games. Rivalries can be born out of numerous different factors – geography, class, politics, religion – but whatever the reason for the mutual contempt, matches with the enemy are always likely to be heated affairs.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out 20 of the maddest moments from derbies across the world. Now take a deep breath…
Reds and Red Devils share six, 1994
This wasn’t so much a great moment as a series of them combining to produce a classic encounter, bookended by two towering headers from defenders. Steve Bruce opened the scoring for Manchester United against arch-rivals Liverpool, before stunning strikes from Ryan Giggs and Denis Irwin put United into a 3-0 lead.
A brilliant brace by Nigel Clough before half-time gave the home fans hope, but it wasn’t until 10 minutes from the end that they found an equaliser, Neil Ruddock’s bullet header from substitute Stig Inge Bjornebye’s inch-perfect cross providing a fitting finale to a bonkers encounter.
Lehmann's late show secures draw in Ruhr, 1997
‘Mad Jens’ Lehmann was known for occasionally charging off his goal-line, but the keeper took things to the extreme in 1997 when he did a passable Les Ferdinand impression and headed a last-minute equaliser for Schalke against Dortmund in the Revierderby, celebrating as wildly as you’d expect in such circumstances.
Local lad Jens, who scored his first goal for Schalke from the penalty spot two years earlier, soon went from hero to villain, though, nipping across the Ruhr to join BVB after a disappointing season in Italy with Milan.
Ronaldinho makes a mug of Dunga, 1999
This was the match which brought Ronaldinho to the attention of football-mad Brazil. Games don’t come much bigger than the Stade Championship final in Rio Grande do Sul, which made it the perfect state for Gremio’s toothy teenager to strut his stuff.
Ronaldinho turned in a match-winning display against Internacional, embarrassing former Brazil captain Dunga with a stunning piece of trickery along the way. The veteran midfielder was suitably unimpressed, taking his revenge 11 years later by leaving Ronnie out of his World Cup squad.
Handshakes and handbags in Old Firm, 2011
“Stay away from my players or else.”
“You shouldn’t sign ****** like Diouf then.”
According to the Daily Record, these were the words between Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon that sparked a touchline bust-up between Rangers’ would-be manager and his future Celtic counterpart after the Old Firm clashed in the Scottish Cup.
It was the result, apparently, of a simmering rivalry between the two management teams and some of their players. Despite smiles pre-match and again, initially, at the post-match handshake, things finally boiled over between McCoist and Lennon, resulting in bans for both men – and increased workloads for lip-readers everywhere.
It all kicks off in Mexico, 1983
While Uruguayans enjoy a bout of old-fashioned fisticuffs, a kick is the Mexican’s preferred choice of attack – judging by this kung-fu fest between Club America (whose home is the photographed Estadio Azteca) and Chivas Guadalajara in 1983 anyway, now known as La Bronca del ’83 (The Riot of ’83).
With Chivas in the lead, an already-violent play-off semi-final turned ugly in the second period, with what seemed like most of the stadium joining in the ruck. After a game full of foul play, the brawl was the final straw for the referee, who opted to simply walk off the pitch as the two teams went at it.
Psy’s Capitale punishment, 2013
While the extreme violence that often blights the Rome derby is unacceptable, it’s perfectly fine to boo an overweight 35-year-old lip-syncher from South Korea as he tries to whip up the crowd before an important football match.
In a rare show of unity, that’s exactly what happened at the 2013 Coppa Italia final. Fans of Roma and Lazio joined forces to register their disapproval at the live performance of Gangnam Style by its creator, Psy, with both sets of supporters vociferously making the point that it wasn’t suitable pre-match entertainment in the Eternal City. We couldn’t agree more.
Off! Off! Off! Off! Off! Off… 1990
A tear-up so tasty that it trumps another on-field brawl between Nacional and Penarol – who both occasionally play at the world-famous Estadio Centenario as seen above – a decade later which resulted in nine players spending a month in jail. No, this 1990 Montevideo melee was far more straightforward, with little interference from fans, stewards and coaching staff.
Like every good scrap, it featured a bald bloke with a beard at its centre, clobbering anyone who came within striking distance. He was one of 20 players sent off, causing the match to be abandoned – which was probably for the best.
Bad day at the office, 2009
It’s fair to say there’s no love lost between fans of Olimpia (pictured above) and Cerro Porteno, Paraguay’s two biggest and most successful clubs – between them, the pair have claimed 71 league titles, with the rest of the country winning a combined 45.
Dario Caballero has sampled life on both sides of the divide, but he won’t wish to remember his exploits in the 2009 edition of the Superclasico. Lining up for Olimpia against his former club, the defender scored an own goal, required medical treatment after being struck in the head by a block of ice thrown from the terraces, and was later sent off. He’s presumably had better days.
The Hand of God - before it was famous, 1981
Diego Maradona made no secret of his hate for River Plate, stating he would never play for his beloved Boca Juniors’ bitter rivals. The feeling was mutual, with losMillonarios not keen on El Diez either – which is no wonder with performances such as this one in 1981.
Both home and away, on awful pitches and with defenders trying to scythe him down at every opportunity, Maradona was a class apart. He was also, as England fans learned to their cost five years later, more than happy to dabble in the dark arts, with the 5ft 5in forward impudently trying to fool officials by punching a cross into the net in a clash with River Plate at La Bombonera.
And to think, we never even saw it coming.
Souey plants his colours in the ground, 1996
It’s difficult to fathom that the most discussed incident in Istanbul derby history features a moustachioed Scotsman with a dodgy ticker. Graeme Souness became an instant hero on one side of the Bosphorus and persona non grata on the other when he celebrated Galatasaray’s triumph at Fenerbahce by planting his club’s flag in the centre circle at the end of the 1996 Turkish Cup Final.
As they say, there’s a fine line between foolishness and bravery. Yet Souey is still loved by Galatasaray supporters, who re-enacted the incident in his honour in 2014 (as seen above).
“That’s for leaving us, you swine”, 2002
Plenty of players have been struck with coins or cigarette lighters down the years, but a pig’s head? Surely not.
Luis Figo is one man who knows what it’s like to have a hog chucked in your direction while on the football field. Preparing to take a corner for Real Madrid against former club and dreaded rivals Barcelona, the Portuguese saw the suckling pig land a few metres away from him, with Barça fans still resenting his decision to swap the Camp Nou for the Bernabeu.
“It was a significant game for me, as it made me much more mature,” Figo later told FourFourTwo. “But of course I was a bit worried than I could be harmed.”
Who you calling chicken?, 2008
Emotions invariably run high when Bolivian adversaries Oriente Petrolero and Blooming lock horns, but a 2008 tussle between the duo was particularly fractious. Oriente’s Marcelo Aguirre celebrated a goal with a chicken dance, which Blooming didn’t take kindly to.
A mass brawl followed, with police forced to step in to break things up. The referee showed three red cards before play was able to restart, but Blooming had the last laugh, scoring two late goals to salvage a 3-3 drawn.
Colo-Colo abandon ship
Ivan Zamarona played for Real Madrid against Barcelona and for Inter against Milan, but he once declared: “Of all the derbies I’ve played, Colo-Colo vs Universidad de Chile is by far the most important."
It didn't take long for this clash to develop into a hostility-filled rivalry; the fixture was just two years old when the pair were involved in one of the derby's maddest moments. After Universidad's Jose Balbuena was sent off for a heavy tackle on Alfonso Domingues, his team-mates walked off the pitch in protest, forcing the game to be abandoned.
Year-long ban for a leaflet, 1931
The first ever meeting between Deportivo Cali and America de Cali was a high-stakes affair. It was the latter who eventually triumphed in a 1931 cup final, but only after America had two goals chalked off. Los Diablos Rojos were incensed, but they managed to compose themselves and deliver a relatively measured response, circulating angry leaflets in the local area.
Perhaps they should have rioted; the football authorities in Cali were so infuriated by the circulars that they banned America from local competition for an entire year. Ouch.
“Actually… it’s led to Origi!”, 2018
With Manchester City setting a ferocious pace at the top of the Premier League, Liverpool knew they could ill-afford to drop points when Merseyside rivals Everton made the short trip to Anfield in December 2018.
The Toffees hadn't won at the home of their neighbours in almost 20 years, but they delivered a dogged display and looked set to hold their title-chasing rivals to a point as the clock ticked into the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time. Marco Silva must have thought his side were over the line when Virgil van Dijk sliced a hurried shot high up into the air, only for the ball to drop onto the crossbar and be fumbled by Jordan Pickford, an error which allowed Divock Origi to bundle it home.
Alianza go down to six, 1988
A plane crash in 1987 tragically killed 17 Alianza Lima players and seven members of staff, but it didn't take long for the club's rivalry with Universitario to heat up again. The two teams met in the Copa Libertadores a year later, with both sides targeting a place in the knockout stage of South America's foremost club competition.
However, the game descended into farce after Alianza had three players sent off, then insisted two more needed to go off through injury. The referee was left with no choice but to abandon the game, which didn't exactly cool temperatures at the Estadio Nacional.
The Superclasico goes to Madrid, 2018
The whole world was watching when River Plate and Boca Juniors both progressed to the Copa Libertadores final in 2018. This was to be the most significant ever edition of the most spectacular derby on the planet, with the destination of South America's biggest trophy decided over two legs.
The first ended in stalemate, Boca and River playing out a 2-2 draw at La Bombonera, but the return fixture was postponed after the Boca team bus was attacked en route to the Estadio Monumental. The game was rescheduled for the following day but that too was postponed after Boca demanded it be played under equal conditions.
CONMEBOL then ruled that the match had to be played outside Argentina, ultimately deciding to take South America's most important game in a tournament named after the South American wars of independence to... Madrid. River won 3-1 to scoop the trophy.
San Siro’s fireworks display, 2005
On the face of it, there was nothing unusual about Milan advancing to the Champions League final on away goals in 2003 - until you realise that their semi-final opponents were rivals Inter, with whom they share the same stadium.
The Italian giants were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals two years later, but this tie was rather more one-sided: Milan won the first leg 2-0 and were ahead by a goal in the second with less than 20 minutes left to play. It was at that point that Inter fans staged an intervention, throwing flares - one of which struck Milan goalkeeper Dida - and bottles onto the pitch to force the game's abandonment.
Horse play in the northeast, 2013
If a football fixture gets you so riled up that you see no issue with squaring up to and then punching a police horse, you should probably reassess your priorities. Emotions run high when Newcastle face Sunderland, but fans of the two clubs united in their bemused reaction to the news that Magpies fan Barry Rogerson had clumped a Shire-cross named Bud ahead of a Tyne-Wear derby clash in 2013.
Rogerson was jailed for 12 months while Bud was largely unharmed. The stallion later earned himself a big-money transfer to the London Metropolitan's mounted section, where he passed on his wisdom to younger horses.
Nathan Tyson’s waving flag, 2009
After helping Nottingham Forest defeat arch-rivals Derby 3-2 at the City Ground in 2009, Nathan Tyson celebrated the victory by picking up a corner flag and waving it at the visiting fans, which didn't go down well with Derby's players or supporters.
Unsurprisingly, fiery Forest boss Billy Davies saw nothing wrong with the incident, insisting the striker did "nothing wrong" and blaming Derby players for the flashpoint. Tyson saw it differently upon reflection, later revealing that he regretted his actions.
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