PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) striker Fernando Forestieri, one of the calmest players in the team, lost his cool and threw a punch at an opponent that ‘knocked out’ their friendly match with Levski Sofia in Dubai on Saturday.
The Argentine’s unthinkable action led to a scuffle between both sides at the Jebal Ali Football Centre and the game was called off in the 54th minute.
The two teams issued separate statements on the game.
JDT said the match was abandoned due to the opposition’s lack of sportsmanship, excessive aggression and failure of the Serbian referee to control the game.
Levski Sofia, a Bulgarian club, blamed it on JDT, saying that it was due to their players’ rude and unsporting behaviour.
JDT owner and Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim took to social media to say that the referee failed to control the game.
“The opponent tackles, no yellow card. JDT stood to form a wall (during a free-kick) just a few metres and got a yellow card. To me, the Serbian match referee lost control of the game,” he commented.
“Their number 30 spat at Leandro Velasquez and kicked him as well, but no card was given. From there, the game became tense and even aggressive.
“Maybe, they cannot accept the fact that a small Asian team can take a 1-0 lead against them.”
Footages showed that the Levski players were aggressive with their challenges during the game.