Lyon defender Marcelo flicked the yellow card out of the referee's hand, and he was immediately shown a red one.
The Brazilian was sent off with Lyon leading 3-1 at Angers in the French league. Lyon went on to draw 3-3 on Sunday.
The bizarre incident happened six minutes into the second half.
Marcelo lifted his arm in frustration at being booked and appeared to accidentally knock the yellow card out of the referee's hand. He immediately turned around and apologized for what he had done. However, referee Mikael Lesage showed him the red card.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has asked the referee to rescind the red card so that the 30-year-old Marcelo is available for the club's next match against champion Monaco.
"It was simply a gesture of disappointment," Aulas said. "It was really unfair for the match, but that's not what bothers me. What I want is that in his report he can withdraw the red card ... Marcelo came with me and the referee seemed very open to hear our proposal."