ROME (Reuters) – Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi was sacked on Wednesday after attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic during his side’s 2-2 draw with Novara.
The bizarre episode took place after Rossi substituted Ljajic with 32 minutes gone and Fiorentina 2-0 down.
The Serb was clearly not happy with the decision to remove him from play and gave his boss a round of ironic applause as he walked towards the dugout.
Rossi was outraged and flew at Ljajic, clearly landing blows on the player as others tried to keep them apart, before getting up and carrying on as though nothing had happened.
Despite his side coming back to draw the game with two goals from Riccardo Montolivo, relegating Novara as a result, Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle announced the decision to sack Rossi after the match.
“Unfortunately it was a serious incident and it’s all the more amazing considering he is such a calm person, but we had to fire the coach,” Della Valle told Sky Sport Italia.
“In recent years this club has done great things with certain values and unfortunately we had to take this decision to sack him. Tomorrow morning we will take more decisions and there will be time to find a replacement.
“It’s the last decision we wanted to make, but we feel it is for his own good. I hadn’t realised what happened at the time, as I was in the stands and you cannot see it from there.
“We talked and he gave his explanation. He is ready to apologise as he is a good man, but I had to make this decision.
“There has been so much stress that has accumulated over the last few months, although there can be no justification. When he sees the footage, he will realise exactly what happened.”
Fiorentina are still not safe from relegation to Serie B and go into next weekend’s huge match at third-from-bottom Lecce six points ahead of their opponents with two games to play.
A point will secure safety but it will be a tough task as Lecce have been in impressive form under Serse Cosmi and battled to grab a 1-1 draw at league leaders Juventus on Wednesday.
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