Safri: I'm no cheat

PUBLISHED: 13:35 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:10 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

City midfielder Youssef Safri has flatly rejected claims that he over-reacted to a tackle to get an opponent sent off. The Moroccan international was the player on the receiving end of a red card challenge from Stoke City full-back Andy Griffin in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship match at Carrow Road.

City midfielder Youssef Safri has flatly rejected claims that he over-reacted to a tackle to get an opponent sent off.

The Moroccan international was the player on the receiving end of a red card challenge from Stoke City full-back Andy Griffin in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship match at Carrow Road.

Stoke were today appealing against Griffin's sending-off by referee Paul Taylor for “serious foul play”.

But as an FA disciplinary commission sat down to consider the Potters' claim of wrongful dismissal, Safri insisted it was a bad tackle for which he needed treatment - and hit back at claims by Stoke boss Tony Pulis that he made too much of the incident.

Safri, speaking from Zimbabwe, where he is with the Morocco squad preparing for Sunday's African Nations Cup qualifier in Harare, said: “For me it doesn't matter what the other manager says, because I know what I felt.

“It was painful and I had to have ice treatment after the game with Neal (Reynolds).

“I know the referee was in the right place and made the right decision.

“I think it was quite a bad tackle because he was a long way from the ball.

“To be honest, because I got my left foot higher, I wasn't badly injured.

“But where I was at the time he made the tackle, it was a silly tackle.”

Pulis announced straight after the game that Stoke would appeal against the dismissal - which came seven minutes from time in their 1-0 defeat - because he felt Griffin played the ball.

“I've seen Paul and asked him to have a look at it. I believe he played the ball - the big thing that disappoints me is the player's reaction,” said Pulis.

“Safri was rolling on the pitch but was injured so badly that 30 seconds later he was across the pitch to take the next free-kick.”

City boss Peter Grant said at the time he was grateful there was no long-term injury from the challenge.

He said: “It's a difficult one. If he got the ball, it's a fantastic tackle. If he hasn't, it looks horrendous. I can remember he did a similar tackle at Stoke and Lee Croft was out for six weeks.”

Safri, 30, flew from Heathrow to Casablanca on Sunday to team up with the Morocco squad.

They take on Zimbabwe looking for their second successive victory in their qualifying group for the 2008 competition.

t The result of Griffin's red card appeal will appear first on en24.co.uk

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