In the wake of Friday's punch-up involving Dudu Awat, Deportivo La Coruna coach has dropped the Israeli goalie and his fellow teammate Gustavo Munua from the team's squad for last night's match against Villareal.
Meanwhile, Awat issued an ultimatum to his Spanish team in which he said that he does not intend to return to training unless his alleged assailant Munua, with whom he was vying for the position of first-team goalie, is dismissed.
Over the weekend, Awat gave Haaretz his version of the incident which left his face battered, with a cut just beneath his left eye that required eight stitches.
"It was a complete surprise. He came up to me as I walked out of the shower after training and, as I began to dress, he asked me 'What are you looking at?' and then sucker punched me in the eye; lots of blood began to pour," Awat recounted.
"The entire team was in the locker room and saw it; they were all shocked. There was no struggle or anything like that, he just came up and slugged me with no explanation. I'm shocked that someone who plays with me on the same team would do something like that."
Awat's testimony has been backed up by his teammates who witnessed the incident. In recent weeks Munua had replaced the Israeli in the opening lineup, causing Awat to tell the press that he would consider leaving if he continued to be benched.
"I spoke about myself and the team, and did not say a word about Munua," Awat said. "I was asked about him, but did not respond."
Meanwhile, Munua has refused to comment on the incident. "The club has forbidden him from talking to the press," a Spanish journalist told Haaretz. "It's obvious he is the assailant and Awat the victim. That's why Spanish media are supporting Dudu Awat."
Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence against Munua, coach Miguel Angel Lotina has suspended both players pending a hearing by the club's disciplinary tribunal.
"I will meet with the players and captain but let there be no doubt, I will be very strict," Angel Lotina told the media at a press conference. He added that as far as he was concerned both players would remain benched until the end of the season.
Angel Lotina's decision not to play with either Awat or Munua is controversial because of his precarious position, a commentator explained. If he loses one more match than he will jeopardize his job as coach of the club hailing from the Galician port of A Coruna, he added.
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