Roma's Luis Enrique v AC Milan's Mauro Tassotti & football's biggest flashpoints

The two come face-to-face at the Olimpico this evening, 17 years after their infamous clash on the field at the World Cup. But theirs is not the only memorable moment of madness
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor

Tonight's clash between Roma and AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico brings together two men who famously came together at the 1994 World Cup quarter-final in Foxborough, with Luis Enrique once again facing Mauro Tassotti.

Seventeen years ago, Tassotti hit the headlines for his crude elbow on the Spaniard as Italy progressed to the last four, but tonight the Roma coach will be hoping his players can gain some measure of revenge against the Milan assistant boss by picking up three points in their bid to climb the Serie A table.

The flashpoint in the USA finals is just one of a number of shameful incidents to have taken place on a football field, and below we take a look at 10 of those that stick in the memory.

Muscat was never really known as a model professional during his playing career, and found himself in hot water on several occasions on either side of the world.

With red cards for punches, kicks and elbows under his belt, he added a confrontation with Adelaide United boss John Kosmina to his rap sheet during a 2006 A-League game for Melbourne Victory.

As Kosmina attempted to collect a stray ball from under his plastic seat by the touchline, Muscat charged into him in his rush to take a throw-in and the two squared up to each other. Kosmina grabbed Muscat by the throat, resulting in his sending-off, while the Victory hard man saw yellow.

Not bad for two men who'd walked off at half-time arm-in-arm!

One of the most iconic moments in English football in the 1970s came in the FA Charity Shield clash between league champions Leeds United and FA Cup holders Liverpool in 1974.

The match at Wembley was Brian Clough's first in charge of the Yorkshire outfit, but despite his calls for his team to play more in a style that would be appreciated by neutrals, the clash was remembered for one moment only.

Leeds captain Billy Bremner and Liverpool's Kevin Keegan got involved in an ugly brawl in the middle of the pitch which resulted in them both being sent off. The pictures of them each leaving the Wembley turf with their shirts off remain fresh in the memories of many to this day.

The 2009 Champions League semi-finals produced one of the biggest talking points of recent years when Chelsea hosted Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in a close-fought second leg.

Leading 1-0, the English side had four penalty shouts turned down by Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, including a late handball claim which resulted in Michael Ballack racing back to challenge the official.

After Andres Iniesta's injury-time goal sent Barca to Rome for the final, Chelsea became more insenced by the official's decisions, with John Terry confronting Ovrebo before striker Didier Drogba chased the referee down the tunnel and swore into a TV camera, buying himself a long European ban.

There has been a real history for flashpoints between two of England's biggest clubs since October 1990, when a lunge by Arsenal's Nigel Winterburn on United's Denis Irwin resulted in a 21-man brawl.

While the Manchester side were docked one league point and the eventual champions lost two, the tensions were far from quelled.

United striker Teddy Sheringham was accused of inciting the Highbury crowd in 1997, while six years later came the 'Battle of Old Trafford' in which Patrick Vieira was sent off and countless others were booked before Ruud van Nistelrooy's last-minute penalty miss which resulted in his man-handling by several Arsenal players, most notably defender Martin Keown.

A year on, Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford with pizza and soup stains on his suit after another clash ended in 'pizzagate', with food being thrown back and forth between the two teams in the tunnel. 

While there has long been tension between the two great rivals, things came to a head earlier this year when the sides clashed four times in just 18 days as the 2010-11 season reached a thrilling climax.

The increased intensity boiled over at times, with Madrid being reduced to 10 men in three of the encounters, while a half-time brawl in the Champions League clash at the Santiago Bernabeu saw Barca's substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto given a red card.

Hostilities resumed in this season's Supercopa clash, with Madrid boss Jose Mourinho poking Barca No.2 Tito Vilanova in the eyes.

After Valencia had completed an away-goals victory over Inter in the 2006-07 Champions League Round of 16, all hell broke loose.

An unseemly brawl began immediately after the final whistle with Carlos Marchena and Nicolas Burdisso coming to blows, leading to unused substitute David Navarro sneaking up on Burdisso and landing a jaw-breaking punch.

The Italian side's response was to retaliate, with Julio Cruz and Ivan Cordoba attempting to trip the retreating Navarro, while Francesco Toldo, Luis Figo and Esteban Cambiasso tried to get into the home dressing room to confront Navarro as he scarpered to safety. Long bans were handed out to players on both sides.

Dutch midfielder Jan Wouters was given the nickname 'Iron Elbow' following his 1993 clash with England's Paul Gascoigne in a crunch World Cup qualifier.

Gascoigne ended up having to wear a protective mask for several weeks after suffering a fractured cheekbone when the Bayern Munich midfielder thrust his right elbow into his face just before half-time in the Wembley fixture.

Wouters' excellent ball over the top for Dennis Bergkamp's goal in the 2-2 draw was immediately forgotten due to his moment of thuggery, though the Netherlands would eventually qualify for the finals at England's expense.

Italian forward Di Canio had become well known for his fiery temper, but few could have envisaged the moment in September 1998 when he sent referee Alcock flying to the ground.

Di Canio, playing for Sheffield Wednesday, was sent off for kicking out at Arsenal's Martin Keown after the defender had smashed him with a forearm in a melee started by Patrick Vieira's foul on Wim Jonk.

The temperamental forward's response to the red card was to push the official to the floor, resulting in an 11-match ban which would spell the end of his Wednesday career ahead of his cut-price move to West Ham United.

Quite possibly the most famous confrontation ever to take place on a football field, the clash between Zidane and Materazzi has gone down in folklore.

With the scores level in the 2006 World Cup final, a seemingly harmless exchange between the two players in the 109th minute ended with the France forward butting the Italian defender in the chest.

Zidane was eventually red-carded by referee Horacio Elizondo, and Italy beat their 10-man opponents on penalties.

Materazzi later admitted to having wound up Zidane with a slur against the Frenchman's sister.

In the 1994 World Cup it was an Italian who was the transgressor rather than the victim as Mauro Tassotti's act of brutality on Spain's Luis Enrique stole the headlines from the two countries' quarter-final clash.

As the Spaniard looked to get on the end of Ion Andoni Goikoetxea's far-post cross, Tassotti launched a calculated, cynical right elbow into his face.

The wideman was left dazed, reportedly losing a total of around a pint of blood. Meanwhile, Tassotti was allowed to continue unpunished, though he would later be banned for eight games after a trial by TV, bringing to an end his international career.

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