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Italian soccer club Lecce fires manager for alleged headbutt on opponent

By Barbie Nadeau and Sammy Mncwabe, CNN

(CNN) — Italian soccer club US Lecce has fired manager Roberto D’Aversa for allegedly headbutting a Verona player after their Serie A match on Sunday.

Following Lecce’s 1-0 home defeat, videos circulating online show D’Aversa walking towards opposing player Thomas Henry and then appearing to strike him with his head.

Henry then falls to the ground before charging at the coach. Both Henry and D’Aversa received red cards for the incident.

Lecce immediately condemned D’Aversa’s actions in a statement on Sunday. On Monday, Lecce released a statement confirming the 48-year-old had been fired.

“After the events that occurred at the end of the Lecce – Verona match, U.S. Lecce announces that it has relieved coach D’Aversa of his duties,” the club said.

CNN has reached out to D’Aversa’s representatives for comment on his firing.

According to Sky Italia, in a post-match interview, the 48-year-old reportedly apologized for the incident saying, “I would like to apologize to everyone and at the same time reconstruct the sad and unpleasant episode that saw me as a negative protagonist at the end of Lecce-Verona.

“I came into contact head-to-head with Henry, but I did not hit the Veronese player with a headbutt, nor did I receive one from him. It was a physical contact, a bad example, an unsportsmanlike image resulting from great tension and adrenaline which, however, must not and do not want to be my excuses or mitigating factors.”

Lecce currently sits in 15th position in the Serie A table, two places below Verona, after one draw and four loses in its last five games.

CNN has contacted Serie A to ask if D’Aversa will be sanctioned by the league.

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