- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

SAO PAULO (AP) - The coach of a team relegated to Brazil’s third division punched the referee in the face after being ejected from the bench.

Pedro Santilli, a former assistant coach for Brazil’s national team, also shoved a player to the ground in the match that led to his team’s demotion to the third division of the Sao Paulo state championship on Sunday.

Comercial, a team in the interior of Sao Paulo state, was losing 1-0 to Catanduvense when Santilli entered the field to remove a ball which was out of play in an attempt to speed up play, and on his way back to the bench he shoved an opposing player into the ground.

After referee Flavio Rodrigues de Souza ejected Santilli, the coach once again charged onto the field, arguing with Souza before completely losing his cool and delivering a right-handed punch into the referee’s chin, Globo TV showed on Monday.

The referee then moved out of the way and players quickly arrived to escort Santilli off the field.

Santilli, an assistant to Brazil coach Emerson Leao in 2000, reportedly said after the match that he regretted his actions and wanted to apologize to the referee.

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