Juventus star Douglas Costa has apologised but could face a long ban after spitting in the face of Sassuolo’s Federico Di Francesco on Sunday.
The flash point came in second-half stoppage time as Juventus saw out a 2-1 victory in their latest Serie A match, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice.
Sassuolo had just pulled a goal back through Khouma Babacar when Costa and Di Francesco squared up.
Brazilian winger Costa already looked to have lost his composure after aiming an elbow and a headbutt moments earlier – but the worst was to come as he spat directly at Di Francesco from inches away.
Costa was sent off after the intervention of the video assistant referee.
Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri admitted the behaviour was unacceptable, and Costa later offered his mea culpa on Instagram.
He wrote: “I would like to apologise to all Juventus fans for this misleading reaction in today’s game. I also apologise to my team-mates, who are always with me in beautiful and bad moments.
“It was a bad mistake, I am aware of it and I apologise to everyone for this. I make it clear that this isolated attitude does not correspond to what I have always shown in my career.”