Stefan Mauk has played down his involvement in the ugly confrontation that erupted at half-time of Adelaide’s win over Melbourne City on Friday night.
As both sides were heading to the sheds at the break – just minutes after the Reds scored a penalty to lead 2-0 – almost every player was involved in a push and shove as they headed down the tunnel.
The incident saw City assistant coach Joey Didulica sent to the stands, while Mauk and Harry Novillo were cautioned for their involvement.
Asked about the melee post-game by Fox Sports, Mauk said: “Isaias and Bruno [Fornaroli] were speaking in Spanish, I’m not too sure what they were saying. Then Harry [Novillo] came in.
“I just went in to break it up and the goalkeeper coach [Didulica] from Melbourne City just grabs me by the throat.
“I’m not sure why that was, it was pretty unprovoked there. I wasn’t doing anything to him, he comes over the top, grabs my throat…I’m not sure what his problem was there.”
The incident was a fiery flashpoint in a physical clash that saw more than 40 fouls and 10 yellow cards brandished by referee Strebre Delovski.
But the Reds’ quality shone out were it counted, winning 2-0 thanks to Isaias‘ early free-kick and Bruce Djite’s penalty in first-half stoppage-time.
The result means Adelaide have jumped to the top of the ladder and now wait to see how Brisbane Roar go against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night to determine which club will win the Premiers’ Plate.
Anything but a win for Brisbane would see the Reds win the Premiership for the first time since Season One.
“It was an extremely important win,” Reds striker Bruce Djite said.
“History has shown it’s one of the top two that tend to win the league. Of course history is there to be broken but we’re aware of our situation now.
“We now cross our fingers Melbourne Victory do us a favour. They [Victory] are a professional outfit, for them they have to win their game. I don’t want to talk too much about Melbourne Victory, that’s their business,” Djite added.
“We did our job today, that’s all we can do. It’s good to beat City, we haven’t beaten them this season.”