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Lippi banned 1 ACL match for confronting referee

August 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Italian coach Marcello Lippi has been provisionally suspended for one match for confronting a referee during his Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande’s 1-0 loss in Sydney to the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals.

Lippi, who coached Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, will be banned from sitting in the dugout during Guangzhou’s home leg of the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The Asian Football Confederation announced the provisional ban Sunday, saying the final decision of its disciplinary committee “will be issued following the completion of a full investigation.”

Defending champion Guangzhou finished last Wednesday’s match with nine men after Zhang Linpeng and Goa Lin were sent off in the final minutes, prompting Lippi to charge on to the pitch and confront referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohamed of the United Arab Emirates.

Lippi took no questions in his post-match conference but tried to explain his altercation.

“I’m not upset about the match that we lost,” he said through an interpreter. “I know I wasn’t supposed to go on the field but you also watched the match and the two red cards. The first one I didn’t see very clearly but the second one was very close to me so I saw that it was not on purpose.

“I’ve been to all the biggest competitions like World Cups, Champions League and I know it was wrong to go in the field.”

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic said at the time he thought Lippi got off lightly by not being reprimanded immediately for his antics.

“Coaches cannot go in the pitch. If I went on to the pitch I’m sure I would have been sent off,” Popovic said. “We all disagree with the decisions that referees make and we voice our opinions from the sideline, but you don’t go on to the pitch. So that I can’t accept.”

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