Sport LeftField

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Cantona's kick, O'Driscoll spear tackled, riot at Lansdowne and Leinster final mayhem - 12 shocking moments on the pitch

Man Utd' s Eric Cantona jumps into the crowd with his infamous Kung- Fu kick on a Palace supporter after being sent-off
Man Utd' s Eric Cantona jumps into the crowd with his infamous Kung- Fu kick on a Palace supporter after being sent-off

Twenty-one years on from Eric Cantona's kung-fu kick, we look back at other outrageous things that we have seen on the field of play.

Cantona's kung-fu

What Eric Cantona did when he took a detour to the Selhurst Park dressing room via the chest of a gobby fan was to vault the division that separates the sportsman from the spectator. No-one before or since has done that so visibly, so spectacularly, so dramatically. Looking back 20 years his dismantling of that third wall still amazes, still surprises, still shocks in its recklessness. No-one saw that coming.


England riot in Dublin

Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick was not even the most shocking moment of 1995. England fans’ riot a month later at Lansdowne Road was pre-planned, politically motivated, violent and deeply shaming for English football. The English FA was pathetic, failing to apologise properly to the Irish.


Zinedine Zidane uses his head

Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Marco Materazzi totally dominated the 2006 World Cup final. It was just so out of character for the brilliant Frenchman. Watching the replays from that Berlin press box, you knew something serious had been said to wind up Zidane.

Brian O’Driscoll spear tackled by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu

In tandem with his hooker, Kevan Mealamu, Tana Umaga ended O'Driscoll's Lions tour in 2005 after just 41 seconds of the first Test in Christchurch with a spear tackle off the ball as O'Driscoll packed down at the rear of a ruck.

The ball was in New Zealand lock Ali Williams' hands 15 metres away when Umaga and Mealamu upended the Lions captain and, according to O'Driscoll, "slam-dunked" him into the ground. The Ireland centre was subsequently out of the game for seven months following an operation on his dislocated shoulder.


Busst's broken leg

David Busst was attempting to ghost in at the far post to connect with an in-swinging Coventry corner against Manchester United in April 1996 when he stumbled over and sustained the most horrific injury of the Premier League era. United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, so shocked by the extent of Busst’s broken leg, ran from his penalty area shielding his eyes. Busst’s injury was front page news and one which ended his career.


Chaos at Louth v Meath Leinster final

As the match entered its dying moments, Meath were trailing Louth 1-12 to 0-12 in the Leinster final.

The ball was fired into the Louth box and after a goalmouth scramble, Joe Sheridan threw the ball into the net. Referee Martin Sludden allowed the goal to stand and Louth fans invaded the pitch afterwards with some physically jostling with Sludden


Muamba collapses at Spurs

The chanting of Fabrice Muamba’s name from each corner of White Hart Lane as he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher in 2012 was both haunting and uplifting. Fortunately, the former midfielder survived but his collapse on the pitch was a terrifying moment.

A pitch invader that ran for Paul Galvin during the Kerry senior hurling championship final in Austin Stack Park, Tralee. Galvin is in the blue jersey and black helmet.

Paul Galvin hit with hurley

Paul Galvin was attacked during a club game by an opposing irate club vice-chairman brandishing a hurl last year. The incident occurred just as the second half of the drawn Kerry senior hurling championship final between Lixnaw and Kilmoyley at Austin Stack Park in Tralee was about to get under way.

Eye-witnesses revealed Galvin clashed with an opponent from Kilmoyley, prompting a melee, before the Kilmoyley vice-chairman Paddy O'Sullivan ran towards Galvin swinging wildly with a hurl.


Suarez sinks his teeth into Ivanovic

I can’t look beyond Luis Suarez attempting to take a bite off the shoulder of Branislav Ivanovic. There was once a time footballers were happy with a slice of orange and a cup of hot Bovril to keep them going through 90 minutes, but this was the occasion the Uruguayan striker tried to fit in a late lunch of a raw Serb salad in front of The Kop.


Chaos in Lille

The trip to Lille in February 2007 was Manchester United's night of mayhem. In a grisly warning from the history of Hillsborough, scores of United supporters at Lens' Stade Felix-Bollaert found themselves crushed against a 12-foot high perimeter fence in scenes of dangerous overcrowding. But French police mistakenly thought the fans were trying to start a riot, and began beating many of them with truncheons.

Soccer referee punches and kicks player before sending him off!

They take no abuse in the Kuwaiti Premier League.

Referee Saad Al Fadhl certainly had enough in a match between Al Nasar and Al Arabi last year. When the official was surrounded, he decided to take out his fists before the cards.

After a right hook and a kick at two players, Al Fadhl then dished out three red cards.

27 August 2006; Dublin and Mayo players warm up at the Hill 16 end. Bank of Ireland All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final, Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / SPORTSFILE

The mill at the Hill

It's standard procedure before any Dublin game in Croke Park - they warm up at thew Hill 16 end. It's traditional and tactical. Defending the Hill in the first half means the Dubs have the advantage of shooting into the famous terrace after the break. No-one told Mayo.

They Dubs ran out onto the hallowed turf at Croker for their All Ireland semi-final against Mayo only to find the westeners already at the Hill end warming up. Defiant Dublin still marched shoulder to shoulder down to their favoured end but Mayo were not for budging and following a few scuffles, both teams warmed up in the same area.

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