WATCH: Evra red-carded BEFORE kick-off for karate kick!

accreditation
Patrice Evra (Twitter)
Patrice Evra (Twitter)

Guimaraes - Marseille defender Patrice Evra was sent off after launching a karate-style kick at one of his team's own supporters before Thursday's Europa League match against Vitoria Guimaraes.

Evra, 36, was engaged in a heated exchange with a group of fans from an area reserved for around 500 Marseille supporters in Portugal before aiming a head-high kick with his left foot at one of them.

Some Marseille fans had managed to get out of their section of the stands and force their way to the touchline barriers where they harangued Evra at close contact as the French international warmed up before kick-off.

Stewards at the ground quickly intervened to break up the trouble, with Evra, who was originally listed as a substitute, ordered to return to the dressing room by the referee.

"Pat has experience, and he must not react, it's obvious," said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia whose side lost the game 1-0 and also had Boubacar Kamara sent off three minutes from time.

"Patrice is a more than just an experienced player. You can't respond, of course, to insults as bad as they are and as incredible as they might be because they come from one of our supporters."

"He must learn to keep his cool. That's all I can say."

Garcia, however, blasted the fan who taunted the 81-times capped Evra at the compact Portuguese stadium.

"He's not a supporter of Marseille, because you can't insult your own players, you have to be behind all of us."

The incident immediately brought back memories of another act of kung-fu kick madness by a French footballer.

In January 1995, Eric Cantona, playing for Manchester United, launched a flying kick at a Crystal Palace supporter at Selhurst Park who had jeered him after he had been sent off.

Cantona's assault led to a nine-month ban handed down by the English Football Association.

According to football statisticians Opta on Thursday: "Patrice Evra is the first player to be sent off before the start of a match in the history of the Europa League".

Europe's second-tier tournament replaced the UEFA Cup for the 2009-2010 season.

Evra, also a former Manchester United star, has received heavy criticism for his performances this season and lost his place in the team to on-loan Aston Villa left-back Jordan Amavi.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Kaizer Chiefs 4
Chippa United 0
loading... Live
Brentford 0
Chelsea 1
Voting Booth
After the opening weekend of URC action, what did you make of the South African struggles?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It exposed the quality of South African rugby...
39% - 2041 votes
There were positives to take
7% - 357 votes
We shouldn't read too much into one weekend
17% - 884 votes
It will take the SA sides time to adjust to the new competition
38% - 1972 votes
Vote