Patrice Evra, second from right, is resulted away by team-mates after the altercation. Photo: Gualter Fatia/ Getty Images
The Frenchman was then was ushered away by a team-mate but not before making history- he became the first player to be sent off from a Europa League match before kick-off. Marseille, who also had Boubacar Kamara rejected during the course of its match, went down 1-0.
The ugly incident was reminiscent of Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kicking at Selhurst Park in 1995 when the United player was sent off for assaulting the Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons. Evra is now likely to face a lengthy Uefa ban while his future at Marseille will come under fierce scrutiny in the coming days.
Rudi Garcia, the Marseille coach said:” Pat has experience and he must not react. Patrice is a more than experienced player and we cannot respond to insults so low and so incredible because they come from one of our advocates .”
Evra, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during an eight-year spell with United, joined Marseille from Juventus in January but has struggled to hold down a first-team place. The left-back has not been sent off during a match since 2005, when he was dismissed during Monaco’s Ligue 1 game against Auxerre.
Roundup: Lazio and Zenit reach last 32
Lazio are the only team to have won their first four games, but left it late at home to Nice . An injury-time own objective from Maxime Le Marchand secured the Italian side’s place in the knockout stages with a 1-0 win. Zenit also went through thanks to a late aim, Aleksander Kokorin’s 93 rd-minute equaliser cancelling out Nicklas Bendtner’s penalty for Rosenborg . Dynamo Kyiv , who won 1-0 in Bern against Young Boys , and Steaua Bucharest also progressed.
Surprise package Ostersunds , managed by Englishman Graham Potter, missed the chance to qualify for the last 32 as they lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao , Aritz Aduriz scoring the winner with 20 minutes to go. The astonish result of the night came in Moscow, as Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol beat Lokomotiv 2-1 to move above them in Group F.
Cologne helped Arsenal to qualify for the knockout stages with a thumping 5-2 win over Bate Borisov . Yuya Osako scored twice as the hosts rattled in more objectives than they had scored in 10 Bundesliga matches. In Group E, Atalanta kept ahead of Lyon at the top with a 1-1 describe at Apollon Limassol , while Villarreal won 2-0 against Slavia Prague and Real Sociedad eradicated Vardar with a 3-0 win.