The six players who have been sent off in an FA Cup final - Moran, Reyes…

There are special moments everyone dreams about when appearing in an FA Cup final. Getting a red card is not one of them.

Despite losing much of its gloss in recent years, the FA Cup final remains a major occasion in English football.

It is generally a tightly fought encounter but there have been surprisingly few red cards over the years.

In fact, only six players have been sent off in an FA Cup final.

Kevin Moran - MANCHESTER UNITED vs Everton (1985)

In many ways it is remarkable that we had to wait until 1985 for the first sending off in an FA Cup final, but it probably highlights as well as anything how the game has changed in modern times.

Everton were the opposition and the Irishman was giving his marching orders for scything down Peter Reid as he went through on goal.

By today's standards it was a wild and reckless challenge and there would be no complaints from anyone, but the Man Utd players were apoplectic at the decision and swamped referee Peter Willis, with Moran himself pulling him all over the place as the rage took over.

It was Willis' last ever game as a referee, and many at the time thought he was trying to ensure his career left a lasting legacy, but he definitely got the call right.

The red card mattered little in the end, with Man Utd winning 1-0 to prevent Everton from completing a domestic double.

Jose Antonio Reyes - ARSENAL vs Manchester United (2005)

For 20 years Moran had to bear the stigma of being the only man to be sent off in a FA Cup final, but in 2005 Jose Antonio Reyes freed him of that burden.

This time it was Manchester United who were handed the man advantage, although it wasn't anywhere near as dramatic.

Reyes had been booked earlier for a challenge on Mikel Silvestre and got another for a clumsy challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo in the dying seconds of extra time, so it had little impact on the game.

Indeed, no one really had any impact on the game in truth. It was a tight 0-0 at the Millennium Stadium and was ultimately decided by penalties.

As in 1985, the team reduced to ten men went on to triumph, with Patrick Vieira scoring the winning penalty.

Pablo Zabaleta - MANCHESTER CITY vs Wigan (2013)

There is a case to be made for the FA Cup final being further tarnished in recent times as the same few mega-clubs play out the final, seemingly on a rotation.

That perspective is supported by the 2013 final, which is one of the few that lives in the memory of neutrals because it was different.

It was a genuine David vs Goliath clash between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City, and little Wigan, who would be relegated that season, came out on top 1-0 courtesy of an injury-time Ben Watson header.

Man City's cause was definitely not helped by Zabaleta, though, who received a second yellow card in the 84th minute for chopping down Callum McManaman.

While it wasn't the first FA Cup final red card, it was the first time it had contributed to a team losing the game.

Chris Smalling - MANCHESTER UNITED vs Crystal Palace (2016)

Having been the fiirst team to have a player sent off in a final, United were at it again in 2016, with another central defender, Chris Smalling, taking the long, lonely walk this time.

When Smalling received a second yellow card for chopping down Yannick Bolasie, the scores were level in extra time and Crystal Palace had the momentum after a late equaliser.

Just as in 1985, though, it ultimately didn't cost Man Utd, with the Red Devils netting the winning goal five minutes later courtesy of Jesse Lingard.

One accolade that Smalling does have is that he is the only Englishman to ever be sent off in a FA Cup final.

Victor Moses - CHELSEA vs Arsenal (2017)

There is another club that have received red cards in multiple FA Cup finals, but they only recently got in on the act.

Once again, it was two yellows rather than a straight red, and they came in a relative flurry, being just 11 minutes apart.

Moses was first booked for pulling down Danny Welbeck and ended up getting sent off for the most contemptible of offences - diving.

It looked for a while like the dismissal might actually spur Chelsea on to victory. They were 1-0 down at the time of Moses' second yellow but equalised eight minutes later through Diego Costa.

That hope lasted just three minutes, though, before Aaron Ramsey scored what turned out to be the winner.

Mateo Kovacic - CHELSEA vs Arsenal (2020)

Mateo Kovacic joined Victor Moses in the Chelsea shame club just three years later, becoming the most recent player to be sent off in a FA Cup final.

It was the same referee who sent off Moses too, Anthony Taylor, although this one was a lot more controversial.

Kovacic was already on a booking when, in the 73rd minute and with Chelsea 2-1 down to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double, he clashed with Granit Xhaka.

It was one of those that looked bad on first view, but replays showed minimal contact.

One thing it does, mean, though, is that despite five players having been sent off in the years following Moran's dismissal, the United player is still the only player to receive a straight red in the final.

READ MORE: Six forgotten FA Cup final goalscorers from the Premier League era - Linighan, Newton, Ramires…

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