Headbutt costs Corona Gold Cup spot
Mexico goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona has been dropped from the national squad to defend next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup after television cameras caught him headbutting the trainer of a rival team during the league playoff semifinals.
Corona, who plays for Mexico City's Cruz Azul, was involved in a fight between players and staff toward the end of his club's defeat to Morelia on Sunday after a supporter ran onto the pitch.
Cameras caught Corona land a headbutt on Morelia's physical trainer Sergio Martin. At the time, two Cruz Azul players and a Morelia player were sent off, while Corona escaped without punishment.
Mexico team director Hector Gonzalez Inarritu said Monday that Corona had been cut because players must set an example.
''One of the points we've considered in the national team are the values of social responsibility and nonviolence,'' Gonzalez Inarritu said. ''The sporting part is important, the winning of trophies and lifting cups, but it's also important to be an example to the fans and to young people.''
Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco has been called up to take Corona's place for the Gold Cup, which features teams from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football to be held from June 5-25 in the United States.
The team began training Monday in preparation for the opening match against El Salvador on June 5 at Arlington, Texas.
''It would hurt a lot to be dropped,'' Corona acknowledged earlier Monday before his punishment was announced. ''It's always sad and painful to be left out of the national team, but I'm calm because I know I messed up and lost control.''
Corona is no stranger to disciplinary problems. Last year he was involved in a bar brawl that cost him his place in the World Cup squad that traveled to South Africa.
The goalkeeper said he hoped to have the chance to explain his violent reaction to national team coach Jose Manuel de la Torre.
''I was provoked, I'd like them to analyze the whole video,'' Corona said.
Corona and Cruz Azul teammate Christian Gimenez, who was one of the players to receive a red card, have also been banned for six matches from the domestic league.
Gimenez punched the fan who ran onto the pitch in the face at least twice.
''I'm all for playing football, not for boxing, so I accept what the federation says,'' said Gimenez. ''I know very well that I am a professional and belong to a very prestigious institution, so I can't react in the way I reacted. I feel embarrassed watching the images.''
Cruz Azul striker Isaac Romo, coach Enrique Meza and physical trainer Daniel Ipata have been banned for three matches.
''The Morelia fans did not deserve the show we gave them, the street is for fighting, not the pitch,'' said Meza. ''I'm hurting very much because of the defeat and more because of the embarrassment over what happened.''