The annual match to decide the champions of Argentinian football descended into utter chaos this weekend as the 2022 Trofeo de Campeones de la Liga Profesional culminated in a bewildering flurry of red cards.
The game sees the Argentine Primera Division champions face off against the Copa de la Liga Profesional winners, with the 2022 edition pitting Boca Juniors against Racing Club, as Boca won both tournaments but Racing finished second in the league.
The score was locked at 1-1 right up until the last few minutes of extra time when Racing midfielder Carlos Alcaraz headed home a dramatic 117th-minute match winner. Alcaraz then celebrated directly in front of the Boca fans, which sparked violent scenes at the Estadio Unico.
Despite being moments from sounding the final whistle, referee Facundo Tello was forced to send off Alcaraz and Racing teammate Jonathan Galvan for their part in the melee, as well as five Boca players involved in the ensuing scuffle. This came after three players (two from Boca and one from Racing) had already been shown red cards earlier in extra time, bringing the full total up to 10 dismissals by the end of the night.
While it's certainly rare for the red tally to reach double figures in top-level football it is far from unprecedented, with the 10-card tally witnessed here actually ranking as relatively placid once compared to some of the all-time highest dismissal counts.
The infamous "Battle of Nuremberg" at Euro 2006 saw Russian referee Valentin Ivanov administer four red cards and 16 yellows in the round of 16, which is still the most cards shown in any single FIFA tournament game.
Both teams had two players sent off from the final minute of the first half onwards as Portugal ground out a grizzly 1-0 victory to reach the quarterfinals.
The Bundesliga record for most red cards in a single game is the five flashed in the volatile meeting between Dortmund and Dresden. Matthias Sammer was the first to go after picking up a second booking just 29 minutes in. The nine men of Dortmund then eventually ended up beating the eight men of Dresden 4-0 in a sparsely populated encounter.
The French league record for most red cards in one game stands at the five shared out between players of PSG and Marseille during a spiky Le Classique derby in 2020, which also saw 14 yellow cards doled out by referee Jerome Brisard. All five dismissals came in the final minute when an altercation involving Alvaro Gonzalez and Neymar sparked a mass brawl between the sides.
Chesterfield vs. Plymouth / Bristol Rovers vs. Wigan, 1997 -- 5 red cards
It's been 23 years since Chesterfield and Plymouth clashed in the 'Battle of Saltergate'.— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 24, 2020
The tear-up to end all tear-ups 💥 pic.twitter.com/Bb4ucOEKfQ
The record for most dismissals in an English league game is jointly held by four teams after Division Two saw two separate matches culminate in five reds apiece in the same calendar year. Firstly, Chesterfield and Plymouth broke new ground when five players were sent off in February's "The Battle of Saltergate" which ended in a mass brawl after an incident that left Argyle goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar lying motionless on the ground as players and fans fought around him.
Just 10 months later, Bristol Rovers and Wigan repeated the feat when five players were expelled at Springfield Park, including four reds in the first half.
Barcelona hold many records when it comes to LaLiga but one of their less illustrious achievements is the six reds shown in a fractious derby against Espanyol in 2003 -- still the most red cards flashed in any single Spanish top-flight match.
The Catalan clash saw two players shown straight reds for violent play, while a further four were expelled for second yellows. Barca ultimately won 3-1 despite having Ricardo Quaresma, Rafael Marquez and Phillip Cocu removed from the pitch prematurely.
Gremio vs. Internacional, 2018 -- 8 red cards
The 2018 Copa Libertadores played host to a Porto Alegre derby that exploded into a two-team brawl right before the final whistle which saw kicks, shoves and punches rain in as even the substitutes became embroiled, resulting in four players from each side being sent off. In other news, the game ended 0-0.
Boca Juniors vs Sporting Cristal, 1971 -- 19 red cards
Gremio and Internacional's ill-disciplined efforts in 2018 pale in comparison to the Copa Libertadores all-time single-game record for red cards, which was set in the early 1970s when a ludicrously tempestuous duel between Boca of Argentina and Cristal of Peru ended with 19 players being given their marching orders.
Recreativo Linense vs. Saladillo de Algeciras, 2009 -- 19 red cards
Similar scenes of mass disorder engulfed the Spanish regional league tie between Recreativo and Saladillo in 2009 which saw 19 players sent off amid a huge brawl that eventually meant the game was abandoned entirely.
The violence was sparked by the referee's decision to send off a Recreativo player which led to both teams piling in on each other. The official then chose to send off a further nine players from each team after retreating to the safety of his dressing room.
Sportivo Ameliano vs. General Caballero, 1993 -- 20 red cards
Paraguayan opposition Sportivo and General Caballero managed to reach 20 reds when they met in the league in 1993. According to reports, a controversial double sending-off proved to be the catalyst for a large scrap that lasted for over 10 minutes. By the end of the fight, the referee had abandoned the game after red-carding every single player and staff member involved.
Atletico Claypole vs. Victoriano Arenas, 2011 -- 36 red cards
The Guinness World Record for the highest number of people reported to be sent off during a single football match stands at 36, which you may notice is enough to include every single member of both team's matchday squad and then some.
The dreadful event came in the Argentine Primera D game between Club Atletico Claypole and Victoriano Arenas which quickly saw referee Damian Rubino overwhelmed by the lack of discipline on display as the second half dissolved from a smattering of nasty tackles into complete and utter anarchy.
Both dugouts emptied as players, coaches, medics and even fans came to blows on the pitch, leaving Rubino with little choice but to red card absolutely everybody involved in the horrendous fighting before officially abandoning the match.