After Gremio vs. Internacional, the games where red cards were like confetti

Football matches often know how to descend into farce with red cards galore. And when they do, all hell breaks loose.

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Gremio played out a 0-0 draw against Internacional in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores on Thursday night, but don't be lulled into thinking the game was a dud.

Indeed, while goalmouth action was in short supply, the referee definitely earned his crust after being forced to administer no fewer than EIGHT red cards.

The first two dismissals came in the 88th minute, when Gremio pair Peppe and Luciano were sent off for their respective roles in an incident that sparked a mass brawl between the two sides.

Things appeared to momentarily calm down until a second scuffle erupted on the pitch. It went on for several minutes and ultimately saw Gremio lose two more players and Internacional four, bringing the grand total up to eight.

By the time the dust had settled and the final whistle was blown in the 98th minute, both teams had been reduced to seven men.

The 0-0 draw means that Internacional are still topping Group E with Gremio tucked right in behind them on goal difference alone.

To pay homage, here are games where the red mist really has come down.

1. Petrolul and Gaz Metan

While not quite on par with Gremio-Internacional, the 2013 Romanian top-flight clash between Petrolul and Gaz Metan was similarly peppered with cards.

In fact, the ref administered six red cards and 11 yellows as the two sides repeatedly came to blows, including an incident in which Petrolul goalkeeper Mircea Bornescu was sent off for rushing up field and biting an opponent he deemed to be time-wasting.

Gaz Metan went on to score a 114th-minute equaliser to salvage a feisty 1-1 draw after the officials added on a whopping 15 minutes for stoppages.

2. Barcelona vs Espanyol

The record for the most red cards handed out in a major top-flight league game was the six that studded (quite literally) the Catalan derby between Barcelona and Espanyol in 2003.

Two players were shown straight reds while four more were expelled for picking up two bookings.

Amazingly, all six dismissals came in separate incidents, rather than a multiman scuffle of any description.

Barca won 3-1 on the night, despite having Ricardo Quaresma, Rafael Marquez and Phillip Cocu sent for early baths.

3. Recreativo Linense and Saladillo de Algeciras

Almost everybody involved in the Spanish regional league tie between Recreativo and Saladillo in 2009 ended up with a red card next to his name, after the two sides began brawling with each other.

It was a red card for Recreativo that lit the charge, leading to a gigantic brawl breaking out on the pitch and the game being abandoned.

The referee then sent off nine more players from each team in the dressing rooms to bring the impressive total up to 19.

4. Sportivo Ameliano and General Caballero

Paraguayan pair Sportivo and General Caballero went one better (or worse) in 1993 when they racked up a total of 20 red cards during their league meeting.

A controversial double sending-off sparked a large fight that lasted well over 10 minutes, at the end of which the referee had abandoned the game entirely amid a flurry of dismissals.

5. Claypole vs Victoriano Arenas

To be quite honest, everything that has come before pales in comparison to the pandemonium that broke out during this infamous Argentine lower league game in 2011.

The meeting between Claypole and Victoriano still holds the world record for most red cards in a single competitive football match after the second half dissolved from a series of nasty tackles into outright anarchy.

By the time the dugouts had emptied and both teams' coaching staffs had joined the fighting, there were also fans clambering out of the terraces to take pot shots.

Referee Damian Rubino was left with little choice but to red card absolutely everybody involved, flashing a total of 36 red cards before suspending the match.