Serbia vs. Albania joins list of farcical football fights

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Fighting on a football pitch is an increasingly rare although not uncommon occurrence, but last night's farcical scenes at a European Championship qualifier between Serbia and Albania were absolutely unprecedented.

Simmering tensions between the two teams escalated after a bizarre incident involving a drone carrying the Albanian flag hovering above the pitch, with the mass brawl that followed forcing referee Martin Atkinson to abandon the match under a torrent of missiles.

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Albanian and Serbia stars sharing fisticuffs might not be a story that rocks the football world all by itself given the simmering political tensions between the two nations, but its the way in which the problem arose which makes the chaotic scenes in Belgrade look all the more remarkable.

A regrettable night that brought the game into disrepute does have one small silver lining though, it gives GiveMeSport the perfect opportunity to look through football's hall of shame and show you the best examples of handbags at ten paces in the middle of big matches across the planet.

1. Valencia vs. Inter Milan

A routine Champions League showdown at the Mestalla 2007 turn an unlikely turn as Carlos Marchena and Nicolas Burdisso sparked a full-scale fight that saw Valencia substitute David Navarro break Burdisso's nose with a perfectly-executed punch that was both sly and sinister.

Once the spark had been lit this slapstick scrap, which you can see BELOW, took some time to stop and continued down the tunnel and into the dressing rooms, with high kicks Anderson Silva would be proud of a personal highlight worth mentioning.

2. Arsenal vs. Man United: Part I

The bitter rivalry that consumed Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane is now the stuff of legend, but the bitter feud involving Arsenal and Manchester United actually predates the Premier League's inception.

You can trace the ill-feeling between the two clubs right back to 1990, where a shocking challenge from Nigel Winterburn on Brian McClair was met with a good kicking and an excuse for a good shoving match involving Tony Adams, David Rocastle and Bryan Robson.

Take a look at where the opening bell sounded in this showdown in the video below.

3. Van Nistelrooy vs. Keown continues the rivalry

Fast forward to 2003 and the pair were firmly established as the two components of a Premier League duopoly, which meant any contentious issue in a huge matches involving the two was enough to bring the bad blood straight to the surface.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was at the centre of their famous dust-up in September 2003, endeavouring to get Patrick Vieira sent off and succeeding, much to the fury of an Arsenal side full of physically imposing characters.

The Dutchman was then awarded a penalty in stoppage time after Martin Keown pulled down Diego Forlan in box, but much to the centre-back's delight his penalty came crashing off the crossbar and sparked chaotic scenes as the full-time whistle went.

In truth the mass shouting and shoving match that followed has been hyped beyond what actually took place, but the hatred those two fantastic teams shared was definitely genuine.

4. Football League fracar

We've delved down to the lower reaches of English football for our next entry, which saw no fewer than five players dismissed under a flurry of punches.

Even both goalkeepers sprint towards the centre-circle to make the most of their chance to get involved in a 22-man brawl between Bradford City and Crawley Town, which just goes to show that it only takes one moment of madness for essentially ever player on a pitch to lose their heads.

You can take in the full magnitude of this full-scale fracar, which even made the main BBC news at the time, in the video below.

5. Mourinho gets petulant

El Classico clashes between Barcelona and Real Madrid evoke arguably stronger emotions than virtually any other game in world football, but the incident involving Jose Mourinho and Tito Vilanova was a sorry affair that hardly did the macho showdown's image any favours.

Mourinho was the main culprit in the touchline spat and saw fit to poke his rival in the eye when the opportunity presented itself, after a two-minute long row between the two Spanish giants sparked after Marcelo hacked down Cesc Fabregas right in front of the dugout.

Vilanova responded by shoving the Los Blancos boss back towards his own technical area, but unfortunately the ill feeling between Mourinho and almost anyone associated with Barca has never really gone away, minus his new midfield marvel Fabregas perhaps.

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