Aleksandar Mitrovic and cards go hand in hand, and referee Chris Kavanagh dished out a red in the Serb’s direction for dissent in Fulham’s FA Cup Quarter-Final defeat to Manchester United. The fiery striker fumed as VAR ruled that Willian had blocked Jadon Sancho’s shot on the line with his hand, and subsequently saw him head down the tunnel.
In this article, I run through the incident between Mitrovic and the official, and flash back to other times when players have received red cards for dissent.
The Tale of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s Red Card vs Manchester United
Fulham’s chances of winning the FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on Sunday were destroyed within a minute, as Aleksandar Mitrovic, Willian, and manager Marco Silva were all sent off.
The Cottagers had taken the lead with Mitrovic’s goal early in the second half and seemed to be in control of the game. However, everything changed just before the 70th minute when Antony broke down the right and squared the ball for Jadon Sancho, whose goal-bound shot was blocked by Willian’s arm.
Initially, the referee gave a corner, but a VAR review was signalled.
Chaos then ensued as Silva protested and was sent off for saying something inappropriate while the official checked the monitor.
The referee then signalled for a penalty and showed a red card to Willian, which infuriated Mitrovic, who charged into the referee, earning a red card for himself.
Fulham then conceded two goals in quick succession, losing the match 3-1.
United advanced to the semi-finals to face Brighton at Wembley, while Fulham will suffer suspensions from the game, which will undoubtedly hurt their push for Europe via the Premier League.
Mitrovic is also facing possible disciplinary action for his behaviour towards the official, but Silva does not expect a severe suspension.
What is Referee Dissent in Football?
A card for dissent is issued to a player who displays verbal or gestural disagreement towards a referee’s decision.
Dissent is considered a form of unsporting behaviour that can disrupt the flow of the game and/or undermine the authority of the referee.
In Mitrovic’s case, barging into and shouting at the referee, as well as alleged verbal abuse, was classed as dissent worthy of a red card.
How long will Aleksandar Mitrovic’s suspension be?
Mitrovic faces an anxious wait to see what action will be taken against him for putting his hands on an official, but Fulham boss Silva does not expect a lengthy suspension.
“I don’t think so,” Silva said of a potential long ban. “I saw the image of course and I already spoke with Mitro. It is a moment for him to control the emotions.
“Of course he pushed the referee but I didn’t see that being so bad as you are saying, so I hope the people who are going to decide, decide with the fairness the moment deserves.”
On the other hand, Martin Cassidy (CEO of Ref Support) has suggested Aleksandar Mitrovic’s actions deserve a ban of up to half a season.
According to reports, the Football Association (FA) has deemed the standard punishment of a three-match ban for violent conduct insufficient in Aleksandar Mitrovic’s case after he put his hands on the referee and screamed in his face.
The Serbian striker has also been found guilty of using abusive and threatening language. As a result, Mitrovic may face a ten-game suspension, which would keep him out of play until the final day of the Premier League season.
Bruno Fernandes Push on Linesman Incident
There’s been many debates on social media over the incident that happened the week before involving Bruno Fernandes and the linesman in Manchester United’s 7-0 thumping at Anfield.
The Portuguese midfielder had a game to forget, visibly throwing tantrums across the pitch.
His tempers flared when the linesman appeared to ignore his frustrations that Trent Alexander-Arnold prevented him from playing the ball quickly and then threw the ball towards him.
Fernandes then laid his hands on the linesman’s back with reasonable force.
While this still counts as dissent, I personally think there is not enough force to warrant a red card, but possibly a yellow.
Other Incidents of Dissent in Professional Football
There’s been several incidents over the last 10 years of players taking their anger out on the referee, and seeing red as a result. But perhaps the most famous incident was all the way back in 1998 with Paulo Di Canio at Sheffield Wednesday.
Paulo Di Canio vs Arsenal, 1998
During a Premier League match between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal, Di Canio was involved in a dispute with the referee, Paul Alcock, after being given a red card for a foul.
Di Canio became visibly angry and, in a moment of frustration, pushed Alcock in the chest with both hands, causing the referee to fall to the ground.
The incident sparked outrage from both fans and the football community as a whole, with many calling for Di Canio to be banned from the sport. He was ultimately fined and suspended for 11 games by the Football Association for his actions.
Luis Suarez vs Manchester City, 2014
Luis Suarez when at Liverpool was sent down the tunnel against Manchester City after angrily displaying his disagreement with the referee for not awarding a penalty.
Nemanja Matic vs Burnley, 2015
Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic was dismissed against Burnley for his reaction towards the referee’s decision to book him for a bad challenge.
Arturo Vidal vs Real Madrid, 2016
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal received a straight red card in a match against Real Madrid for showing dissent after the referee awarded a penalty to the opposing team.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Barcelona, 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo whilst playing for Real Madrid was dismissed in a fiery match against Barcelona after receiving a second yellow card. Ronaldo then pushed the referee and was later suspended for five matches for his behaviour.
Paul Pogba vs Arsenal, 2018
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was sent off in a match in 2018 for sarcastically clapping the referee’s decision to award a penalty to Arsenal.
Dani Alves vs Lyon, 2018
PSG defender Dani Alves was sent off against Lyon after his angry dissent towards the referee as the ref gave a penalty to the opposing team.
Son Heung-Min vs Everton, 2019
Tottenham midfielder Son Heung-min was given a second booking against Everton for his reaction towards the referee after he booked him for a poor challenge
Neymar vs Marseille, 2020
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar Jr. was shown a red card in a match against Marseille for hitting an opponent and for words thrown in the referee’s direction.
Paulo Dybala vs Inter Milan, 2020
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala was sent off against Inter after he visibly disagreed with the referee’s on-field decision to award the opposition a penalty.
Oleksandr Zinchenko vs Tottenham, 2021
Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko received the second of two yellow cards due to his frustration at being booked in the first place.
Fred vs Paris Saint-Germain, 2021
Manchester United midfielder Fred was dismissed against PSG for two yellow cards, the second of which was for reacting to the referee’s initial decision to book him.
Lionel Messi vs Athletic Bilbao, 2022
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi saw red in a match against Athletic Bilbao for his reaction to the referee’s decision not awarding a penalty to his team.