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martedì 30 dicembre 2008

VIDEO: Ricardo Fuller Sent Off for Slapping his Own Captain

From Goal.com

Stoke City's Ricardo Fuller probably never imagined playing a part in the title race this season. The Jamaican forward probably envisaged a relegation dogfight with his Stoke team-mates.

However, after being sent off against West Ham United yesterday for slapping his own skipper Andy Griffin, he faces an automatic three match ban for violent conduct.

One of those three matches will be the FA Cup Third Round tie away at Hartlepool United on Saturday. The other two games are at home to Liverpool and away to Chelsea. Games that Stoke would not want to be without their top-scorer for, and also games that could play a real part in shaping the destination of this year's title.

Fuller has netted six times this season, including in victories over Arsenal and Aston Villa, and his absence creates a big gap for Stoke boss Tony Pulis to fill. Despite the annoyance Pulis must feel with the player though, he is expected to take no further action beyond the FA suspension other than fining the player the maximum allowed two week's wages.

The player's team-mates also seem baffled and upset by Fuller's behaviour. Defender Ryan Shawcross commented: "You can’t do that in football. It’s unacceptable. If you raise your hand to another player you’re going to get sent off.

"Are we disappointed with Ricardo? Of course. I’m not sure what it was about. It might have been disappointment with the goal but you can’t do that. We lost a game I thought we could have at least got a point from.

"We did pretty well with ten men, but we were always going to struggle. Would we have won the game if not for the sending-off? You can never say, but obviously it makes it much harder."

Fuller's dismissal may well be a turning point in the season then, and not just for Stoke City.

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