Five of the most memorable red cards from pre-season fixtures, including Cantona and Rooney

Manchester United take on Liverpool in a friendly in Thailand on Tuesday and despite the historic rivalry, it should be a relatively easy ride for the referee, surely?

It's a pre-season friendly, there's barely going to be a tackle let alone anything worthy of a yellow, right?

And there's absolutely no chance of a red. If things do get heated, the referee will just have a quiet word with Erik ten Hag and Jurgen Klopp and the player or players involved will be quietly substituted.

It's not always the case, however. Planet Sport looks back on five instances of players (and managers) seeing red, literally and metaphorically, in friendly action.

Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg (1994)

Raith Rovers were already 1-0 up against Hearts when Rovers' Gordon Dalziel took advantage of a defensive mix-up to fire off a shot which was turned away for a corner by keeper Henry Smith.

Despite the save, the ease in which Dalziel found space provoked an argument between Hearts team-mates Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg which quickly turned physical as Levein explained some years later.

He said: "We've squared up to each other and next minute he's thrown a punch at me. Luckily it was a big haymaker so I saw it coming and I ducked and my natural instinct was to throw a punch back. And unfortunately I hit him."

The cause of their disagreement, Dalziel described it as "a superb effort that Mike Tyson would have been proud of".

''I was killing myself laughing and jokingly gave Hogg the count of 10 as he was flat out on the deck" he recalled.

''I didn't realise the severity of the blows at the time or the fact that Levein had actually broken Hogg's nose."

The incident was caught on camera and resulted in a 14-match ban for Levein, with Hogg suspended for ten matches.

"We actually get on really well," said Levein. "We did beforehand and we still do."

Jose Mourinho (2021)

The season ended in European glory for Jose Mourinho and his Roma side but it began in ignominious circumstances, with the Portuguese manager sent off in an ill-tempered pre-season friendly against Real Betis.

Mourinho and his players were angered by a refereeing decision on the hour-mark with the game delicately poised at 2-2.

Alex Moreno bundled the ball over the line to put the Spanish side ahead but Mourinho and the Roma players believed it should have been disallowed after striking his arm.

Lorenzo Pellegrini received a second yellow card for arguing the decision and then Mourinho was shown a red after marching on the pitch to confront referee Jorge Figueroa.

Roma's Gianluca Mancini and Rick Karsdorp also saw red later in the game, with Real Betis going on to beat the eight men 5-2.

Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes (2006)

Only a month after seeing red for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho in the World Cup, 20-year-old Wayne Rooney was again making an early exit, this time as part of the Amsterdam Tournament.

Man Utd were already 2-0 up in the season curtain-raiser against Porto when Rooney struck Pepe with an arm during an aerial challenge.

Dutch referee Ruud Bossen judged the incident worthy of a red and despite an appeal from United, Rooney was forced to sit out three Premier League games due to suspension.

"Their player made a meal of it, but that kind of thing is becoming endemic in the game today," said Ferguson, presumably about the play-acting rather than the stray arm.

Scholes did have some company on the sidelines, however, with Paul Scholes also receiving a straight red for a tackle from behind on Ricardo Quaresma in the same match.

"Paul Scholes can have no excuses. It was a tackle from behind and he has taken the player out," said Ferguson, who was nothing if not fair-minded.

Jozo Simunovic (2019)

It perhaps doesn't feel like it, but VAR was actually trialled and one of the first players to fall foul of it was Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic.

The video system was being tested ahead of its introduction to the Swiss top flight when Celtic took on St Gallen in a pre-season encounter.

Simunovic looked set to escape with a yellow after a pretty horrific-looking head-high challenge on Boris Babic. However, after the incident was watched back on a pitchside monitor, the referee upgraded the card to a red.

The change of decision not only ended Simunovic's involvement in the game but resulted in him sitting out the first two games of the Bhoys' league campaign.

Eric Cantona (1994)

Eric Cantona only came on as a substitute in Manchester United's pre-season game against Rangers but he wasted no time making himself known to the referee.

The Frenchman was booked for contesting a decision and with his frustration reaching boiling point, he flew into a two-footed tackle against Steven Pressley. Thankfully, the Rangers defender sidestepped the challenge but it signalled the end of Cantona's contribution. He looked almost relieved.

"He can't control his temper but that's part of his temperament," said manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "You either love him or hate him, but I'm glad we've got him."

Unfortunately, due to the red card, they didn't have him for the first three games of the Premier League campaign.

READ MORE: Wayne Rooney arrives in America amid links with DC United’s managerial vacancy

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