Football: Durante hits out at 'disgraceful lies'

Andrew Durante and Besart Berisha were involved in an incident earlier in the month. Photo / Getty
Andrew Durante and Besart Berisha were involved in an incident earlier in the month. Photo / Getty

Wellington Phoenix defender Andrew Durante has savaged Besart Berisha after the Melbourne Victory striker was cleared to play in the A-League elimination final on Friday night.

Berisha was handed a two-game suspension for kicking out at Durante in Victory's 4-1 win in Wellington earlier this month.

But he was freed from the second match of the ban after arguing to a tribunal the long-term Phoenix captain baited him and held him down by the throat.

Durante was incensed to learn of his testimony.

"What a bunch of disgraceful lies. Grabbed him by the throat?? Can I please get sent that footage? I won't have my name tarnished by lies," he tweeted on Tuesday night.

The committee viewed photos and footage showing Durante's hand reaching out to Berisha while he was on the ground receiving medical treatment after being knocked on the head during an aerial contest.

Berisha told the tribunal as he lay on the ground in a "dizzy" and sore state receiving a concussion test by the club doctor, Durante approached him and moved his boot onto his hip and his hand to his throat.

"He moved close to my hip with his boot and he said 'You have nothing wrong, stand up', and he kept pushing at my hip," Berisha said.

"He was pushing down on my throat and I couldn't even talk to the doctor."

While unable to confirm any contact with Berisha's throat - as denied by Durante - the committee agreed it was Durante's intention to bait Berisha into reacting, which they said was out of order.

However the committee chairman also warned the feisty Albanian forward he also needed to rein in his own behaviour.

"You've had the benefit tonight of a favourable hearing, and you should be aware that opposing players do wish to provoke you ... you need to take that on board very carefully," chairman John Marshall SC said.

Berisha made assurances he would "try to be a good role model to the Australian people".

-AAP

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 11 Dec 2016 01:15:04 Processing Time: 331ms