A NERJA goalkeeper has apologised for putting a referee in hospital for giving him a red card.
“What happened shouldn’t have happened,” said Ivan Cabello, who insisted referee Juan Carlos Crespo Sanchez had insulted him.
The incident, which occurred during Nerja’s third-division home game against Huetor Tajar, has been reported to police and is expected to go to court.
With the score at 0-0 19 minutes into the second half, Sanchez told Cabello to hurry up with a goal kick, which riled Cabello – who turned to confront him.
Sanchez then gave Cabello a red card – leading the Nerja player to lose control completely, punching the ref to the ground and knocking him unconscious.
“He had his hands round my neck and was trying to strangle me,” said the referee.
Cabello then kicked him twice while he was down before eventually being pulled off by his teammates.
Sanchez, from Algeciras, tried to get up but quickly collapsed again, lying in a stupor until the ambulance arrived and took him to Nerja health centre.
“For several minutes I couldn’t see anything in my left eye,” said Sanchez, who was later transferred to Velez Malaga hospital.
But Cabello refused to let on what the ref said, adding: “I’m not going to say what he said to me until court.”