In American football, players who take down fans who invade the field during play are celebrated.

In the European version, it seems, defending yourself from supporter attacks will get you thrown out of the match.

Today's Dutch Cup round-of-16 match between host Ajax and AZ Alkmaar lasted only 38 minutes before an Ajax supporter invaded the pitch and attacked Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban, who fought back with kicks. As security hauled the curiously-underweared hooligan, Esteban found himself face to face with referee Bas Nijhuis's red card.

The home crowd screamed with glee as Esteban went apopleptic and Alkmaar manager Gert Jan Verbeek ordered his team off the pitch, halting the match.

Nijhuis defended his decision to issue the red with the ludicrous explanation that Esteban could have simply walked away from the man who ran out onto the pitch and kicked him.

[AFP]