THE row over Cruzeiro forward Kerlon’s so-called seal dribble continued on Wednesday when a player who was sent off for fouling him was banned for 120 days.
Atletico Mineiro defender Coelho’s crude foul on Kerlon 10
days ago sparked a brawl on the field and a national debate over whether the teenager’s cheeky trick was an attempt to belittle his opponents.
“I’m very sad to be remembered for this,” Coelho told reporters after being banned by a disciplinary hearing. “Now, we just have to wait for the appeal.”
The incident happened late in the game with Cruzeiro winning 4-3.
Kerlon collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area, flicked it up and performed his trademark dribble by bouncing the ball on his head as he ran towards goal.
The move sent the Cruzeiro fans wild but was interrupted when Coelho crashed into him and was given a straight red card.
Other Atletico players remonstrated angrily with Kerlon, leading to an angry pushing match which interrupted the game for five minutes.
Atletico coach Emerson Leao warned that Kerlon could get seriously injured if he tried the trick again and said he had broken a code of ethics under which players avoid trying to ridicule the opposition.
Cruzeiro retorted that Kerlon had done nothing illegal and was simply producing the artistry for which Brazilian football has become famous.
Even Brazil coach Dunga joined the debate.
He seemed to side with Coelho, describing the foul as a “normal tackle” and saying he wanted to see Kerlon try the dribble when his team were losing.
Meanwhile, former Colombia striker Leider Preciado has been given a six-match ban for an offensive celebration after scoring his 100th goal for Santa Fe.
The Colombian league’s disciplinary committee also fined Preciado 2,17 million pesos (US$1 075,93) after he grabbed his genitals in a gesture aimed at the team’s own fans during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Real Cartagena.
“It has come to the knowledge of this committee that Leider Preciado made obscene gestures at the public during the Santa Fe-Real Cartagena match,” said a statement on the league’s website.
The decision completed an unhappy week for Preciado after he arrived late for practice on Tuesday and was ordered to train separately.
Preciado, who played and scored in the 1998 World Cup, has apologised for the celebration which he said was in the heat of the moment after the team were barracked by the supporters.
Santa Fe are 15th in the 18-team Colombian championship with nine points from 10 games.
In Italy, Napoli will host Genoa behind closed doors on Sunday as punishment for their fans’ conduct at Wednesday’s Serie A game against Livorno, Italian media reported yesterday.
Napoli fans had displayed an offensive banner, set off smoke bombs and thrown bottles – “one of which hit the chest of a (referee’s) assistant, causing him pain”, La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted the Italian Soccer League as saying on its Web site (www.gazzetta.it).
Italian soccer has been beset by crowd trouble in recent years and is still recovering from the death of a police officer at a Serie A game in Catania in February. — Reuters.