6 of the dirtiest games in European Cup history

Adding a spicy cross-continental element to top-level football was always likely to create fireworks

1. The shame game

It all kicked off at full-time, as pushing and shoving between managers Juan Carlos Lorenzo and Jock Stein turned into an all-out brawl

“I should have been locked up,” admitted Atletico Madrid’s Ruben Diaz after a knee-high, studs-up tackle on Celtic’s Jimmy Johnstone in 1974’s semi-final first leg, later dubbed ‘the Shame Game’. Two other Atletico players took early baths as they resorted to any means necessary to escape Glasgow with a 0-0 draw.

It all kicked off at full-time, as pushing and shoving between managers Juan Carlos Lorenzo and Jock Stein turned into an all-out brawl that continued down the tunnel, where the substituted John ‘Dixie’ Deans emerged from the dressing room and “slapped Ruben Ayala about a bit, just to keep him awake”.

2. Burdisso takes one on the hooter

Valencia and Inter’s 2007 last 16 second-leg clash produced one of European football’s most fearsome scraps

Valencia and Inter’s 2007 last 16 second-leg clash produced one of European football’s most fearsome scraps. After the Spaniards had snuck through on away goals, Valencia defender Carlos Marchena and Inter’s Nicolas Burdisso traded blows, prompting unused substitute David Navarro to leap from the dugout and break Burdisso’s nose.

All hell broke loose, with Navarro being pursued by several Inter players – one even launching a flying kick – as stewards and police tried to intervene. Navarro was ultimately handed a six-month ban for his antics.

3. Poor Reg can't get it right

Rapid Vienna were denied a penalty by English referee Reg Leafe, who instead decided that forward Robert Dienst had dived

Trailing Benfica 4-1 on aggregate with just five minutes of their 1961 semi-final second leg remaining, Rapid Vienna were denied a penalty by English referee Reg Leafe, who instead decided that forward Robert Dienst had dived.

Cue bedlam, with angry home players and rioting fans forcing the match to be abandoned. But the result stood and Rapid were given a three-year ban. “You should have let them have their penalty,” Benfica coach Bela Guttmann told Leafe, helpfully.

Benfica

Benfica went on to lift the trophy in 1961