Sporting director quits after fight

BY foxsports • January 21, 2010

Sporting Lisbon's director of football quit Thursday after reportedly exchanging blows with striker Liedson in a changing room after a match.

Sporting said in a statement that it had accepted the resignation of Ricardo Sa Pinto, a former Portuguese international who was suspended for 12 months in 1997 for attacking then-Portugal coach Artur Jorge. Sa Pinto had only been appointed two months ago.

The club said it is investigating "occurrences" after its Portuguese Cup home game against Mafra on Wednesday. No more details were provided.

Liedson, who is expected to play for Portugal at the World Cup in South Africa, met with club officials and skipped training Thursday but there was no indication on whether he would be punished.

Local media reported that Liedson and Sa Pinto started arguing on the bench during the match. The dispute reportedly boiled over in a changing room and the pair had to be pulled apart.

Sporting led 4-1 in the match before hanging on to win 4-3 over Mafra. The argument reportedly started over comments about a blunder by Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio, which allowed Mafra to reduce the deficit to 4-2.

The 32-year-old Brazilian-born Liedson has scored more than 100 league goals in six seasons at Sporting and has twice been the league's top scorer. After taking Portuguese citizenship last year, he has played regularly for the national team.

Sporting has struggled in the league this season and its coach quit in November. New coach Carlos Carvalhal is under pressure to bring improvements, though the club is 12 points off the lead.

Mafra's Chinese striker, Chengdong Zhang, scored three goals, becoming the first visiting player to score a hat trick at Jose Alvalade Stadium since 1994.

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