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Durante riled after Berisha appeal claim

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/04/2016

Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante has labelled Besart Berisha a liar after the Melbourne Victory striker successfully appealed his two-game ban.

Berisha was red-carded and later handed a two-game suspension by the A-League match review panel for kicking out at Durante while getting treatment during Victory's 4-1 win on April 2.

The FFA's independent disciplinary committee reduced that ban to one match after a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, ruling that Berisha had been sanctioned sufficiently after serving a one-match ban in Saturday's scoreless draw with the Roar.

The committee viewed photos and footage showing Durante's hand reaching out to Berisha while he was on the ground receiving medical treatment after being knocked on the head during an aerial contest.

Berisha told the committee that as he lay on the ground in a "dizzy" and sore state receiving a concussion test by the club doctor, Durante approached him and moved his boot onto his hip and his hand to his throat.

"He moved close to my hip with his boot and he said `You have nothing wrong, stand up', and he kept pushing at my hip," Berisha said.

"He was pushing down on my throat and I couldn't even talk to the doctor."

While unable to confirm any contact with Berisha's throat, the committee agreed it was Durante's intention to bait Berisha into reacting, which they said was out of order.

But the 30-year-old Albanian's claims sparked an angry response from Durante.

"What a bunch of disgraceful lies. Grabbed him by the throat?? Can I please get sent that footage? I won't have my name tarnished by lies," Durante tweeted.

Berisha is free to play in the Victory's elimination match against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

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