AC Milan, goalkeeper Dida face UEFA probe


London : Europe’s football governing body UEFA has initiated disciplinary proceedings against defending champions AC Milan and their Brazilian goalkeeper Dida after the Champions League game at Celtic.

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Dida collapsed dramatically after a fan appeared to strike him near the end of Milan’s 1-2 defeat Wednesday.

The 34-year-old was stretchered off but has been criticised for overreacting.

The Scottish champions are already facing an inquiry into the incident. Both cases will be heard by the control and disciplinary body Thursday, according to UEFA’s official website.

The incident occurred after Scott McDonald had slammed in Celtic’s winner late in the game when Dida had failed to hold a Gary Caldwell shot.

The fan, already identified and banned by Celtic for life, ran on to the pitch and made contact with Dida, who proceeded to briefly give chase before collapsing to the ground.

He was replaced in stoppage time by Australian Zeljko Kalac.

A statement on the UEFA website said it had opened an investigation on the basis of article five, paragraph one of the disciplinary regulations, which states: Member associations, clubs, as well as their players, officials and members, shall conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has already admitted Dida’s actions were a “mistake”, but says the goalkeeper should not be punished.

“During the years, Dida has shown great sportsmanship and fairness – he has been hit by flares in the past but he always got up,” said Ancelotti.

“The other night was a mistake. I don’t know why he did it, but I think that the issue must be closed for all the demonstration of professionalism he gave through the years.

“I think that he made a mistake, but that’s all. The doctor decided he should come off because he did not know the extent of the damage and preferred to avoid any risks.”

Dida returned to action Sunday, his 34th birthday, as Milan won 5-1 at Lazio in the Italian Serie A.