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Games with the most red card in the history of the Copa Libertadores

The Copa Libertadores always gives us iconic moments. Being a highly contested competition, it is common to see a lot of sent offs.

Hand holding a red card

We decided to review the games with the highest number of sent off in the history of the Copa Libertadores. Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Partidos con más expulsados de la historia de la Copa Libertadores


No one doubts that the Copa Libertadores is the most important sports competition for Latin America . All teams are preparing to win it, although passing the group stage and reaching the decisive stages is usually more difficult than expected, mainly because all teams are competitive and tend to "give up their lives" in each match.

For example, recently CONMEBOL raffled the fixture for the 2021 edition, defining the path for teams to seek glory. This means that, on more than one occasion, players go "to the limit" and different atypical situations occur. Therefore, we decided to review the games with the highest number of red card in the history of the Copa Libertadores.

Also read: The 5 most valuable players in Latin American soccer

America de Cali vs River Plate (2003)

We started with a hot match, where there were about 5 sent offs in total. Corresponding to the quarterfinals of that edition, the return was played in Colombia, where the local team managed to advance to the semifinals after beating the millionario by 4 goals against 1, although it would later be eliminated by Boca .

The peculiarity of this match is that the incidents came towards the end, then, River Plate knew that it had no more chances to pass the round (despite the fact that in the first leg they won 2 to 1). ESPN highlighted that River fell "in the middle of a scandal" , since that match ended with the expulsions of Kilian Virvivescas and Luis Asprilla, on the side of América de Cali; and Ariel Garcé, Darío Husaín and Claudio Husaín, on the part of the red band.

Olimpia vs Atlético Mineiro (1972)

Here the amount of red cards sums up to 6. Unlike the previous case, it was not a match corresponding to the knockout stages, but to the group stage. The game in Asunción was tied at 2 goals, but what was really curious was the impetus with which the Brazilians took to the field, which led to problems .

Thus, in Olimpia they only saw one red card, but in Atlético Mineiro there were 5 affected : Dadá Maravilha, Humberto Ramos, Ronaldo, Oldair and Romeu. Because there were fewer players than allowed on the field, the referee suspended the actions and automatically awarded the Paraguayans victory.

Blooming vs Emelec (1999)

A priori, it did not seem to be an inconsequential match. Both teams were part of Group 5, so they had to play in Bolivian territory. There the locals won 2 to 0, with two goals from Víctor Antelo. However, from minute 33 of the first half things started to get out of control.

The first expelled was Renny Ribera, at the premises. However, later two more joined: Rubén Tufiño and Raúl Gutiérrez. At the same time, the visitors were not going to stay with the 11 players on the field, Pavel Caicedo, Saso Janev and Luis Moreira also ended up leaving the match, to the point where, at one point, there were only 8 players on the court, each side.

Gremio vs Inter de Portoalegre (2020)

Here we find a recent match, but also very heated. What was seen in the Porto Alegre classic was a wild pitched battle , with the particularity that it was the last game with an audience that was played in that contest before COVID-19. The game had not been very attractive from a soccer point of view, as both were classified for Group E and ended goalless.

However, as they are classic rivals, each ball was played as if it were the last. With a few minutes to go, a real “battle” was unleashed, where 4 players were expelled from each side: Edenílson, Moisés, Bruno Praxedes and Víctor Cuesta, at Inter de Porto Alegre; and Pepe, Caio Henrique, Luciano and Jonathan Doin, from Gremio. Therefore, they had to play the remaining minutes with much fewer people on the field.

Boca vs Sporting Cristal (1971)

Olé describes it as the game with the most sent off in the history of the Copa Libertadores . We are talking about a match that was played in La Bombonera, where the impressive number of 19 reds was seen, and even caused the xeneize team to end up being disqualified from the tournament . What is its history?

At that time, the Libertadores was contested only by 20 teams, which were divided into five groups of 4 teams each. The triumphs took 2 points, not 3 as it happens now. So, this event took place within the framework that Boca needed to win to get closer to the top and not lose the chances of continuing in the cup.

For the 44 minutes they went 2 to 2, in a hot game , with many twists and turns. However, Roberto Rogel tried to simulate a foul to deceive the referee . Although it did not achieve its mission, the game was derailed and began a pitched battle, which had as protagonists 20 of the 22 players on the field. The only ones who were not expelled were the goalies Sánchez and Luis Rubiños, as well as Julio Meléndez, a figure from Boca.