Serie A game marred as Lecce coach head-butts Verona striker

Lecce coach Roberto D’Aversa appeared to head-butt Hellas Verona striker Thomas Henry following a heated clash between two teams just above the relegation zone in Serie A on Sunday.

Henry was arguing with Lecce defender Marin Pongracic after the final whistle when D’Aversa went over to intervene and instead ended up knocking Henry over with a head-butt.

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“Next Saturday we have another big match [against Salernitana] and I didn’t want my players to be banned,” D’Aversa said. “So I went out to try and separate them from the opponents and then the incident with Henry happened.

“I’ve already apologized to Verona’s management,” D’Aversa added. “As a coach and father of three kids, I want to apologize for what happened.”

Both D’Aversa and Henry were sent off.

While replays appeared to show that it was indeed a head-butt, D’Aversa later said in a post on Instagram that it was not.

“I was wrong and I apologize,” D’Aversa said. “I got carried away and lost lucidness, but not to the point of hitting another person … Once again I apologize to Henry, to the Lecce, Verona and Italian fans, to the referees, to the two clubs, to my management, my staff and my team.”

Michael Folorunsho scored early in the first half for Verona, who won 1-0 to move up to 13th place, two points above the drop zone. Lecce dropped one point behind in 15th.

Lecce said in a statement they “firmly disapprove” of what the coach did since it “goes against the principles and values of sports.”