It’s been a great week or so for animal pitch invaders, so join us as we look back at some of the most memorable instances from recent years.
Starting with the two most recent examples, dig these beastly interventions:
Birds invade pitch in Brazil
A flock of lapwings, to be precise.
Dog invades pitch in Serbia
Feigning one way, then the other, this silkily skilled pooch would have been the best player on the pitch in an alternate reality.
Galloping deer scores goal in children’s match
The kids were powerless to stop as this majestic creature strode into play and finished neatly.
Giant grasshopper celebrates with James Rodríguez
The Colombia star had just scored against Brazil at the 2014 World Cup when a gargantuan grasshopper leapt onto his arm to claim its share of the limelight.
Chicken invades pitch during Blackburn v Wigan
Fowl, ref! A late-season relegation tussle descended into farce when a chicken decorated in the home side’s colours – presumably there as a Venky’s mascot rather than as a paying punter – waddled onto the pitch, prompting Rover striker Yakubu and Latics goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi to collaborate in its capture and safe return.
Cat invades pitch during Liverpool v Spurs
This cheeky little scamp interrupted a televised match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur – not that anyone seemed to mind all that much, waiting for the stray tabby to make its own way off the pitch…
Dog invades pitch in Argentina
This sweet-natured Labrador manages to break through the police line, lies down in the sun at the feet of one of the players and is treated to a bit of a belly rub before being escorted off the pitch in the arms of another team member.
Dogs invade pitch at Galatasaray
Two delightful, fun-filled Labrador Retriever puppies ran on to the pitch during the Turkish side’s friendly against German club VfR Aalen.
Pine marten bites player in Swiss Super League match
FC Thun 1898 were taking on FC Zürich when the mischievous mammal scurried onto the pitch and then off into the stands, deftly evading capture until an acrobatic intervention from Zürich defender Loris Benito.
But the pine marten wasn’t finished yet – it managed to squirm though Benito’s hands, biting him on the finger in the process, and soon reappeared to interrupt the match anew before being caught by one of the few men in the ground with gloves on, Zürich goalkeeper David Da Costa.
Zulte-Waregem striker Habib Habibou disciplined for hurling duck off pitch
Here’s an example of how not to do it – Habibou grabs the winged intruder, which had interrupted Zulte’s Belgian Pro League match against Lokeren, and throws it out of play with little if any apparent regard for the creature’s safety.
He was later the subject of disciplinary action, and rightly so if you ask us.