Fiorentina coach Rossi sacked for attacking player

Story highlights

  • Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi sacked after attacking player Adem Ljajic
  • Rossi lashes out at Serbian after he sarcastically applauds decision to replace him
  • The outburst comes 32 minutes into match against Novara, with Fiorentina later drawing 2-2
  • Club president Andrea Della Valle says: "No provocation can justify that reaction"

Tensions often run high in top-level sports, but it is rare to see a team's coach physically attack one of their own players.

However, that was the bizarre situation in an Italian soccer match on Wednesday -- and it has cost Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi his job.

The 51-year-old has been sacked just six months after being tasked with turning around the fortunes of the top-flight team following an astonishing fight with young midfielder Adem Ljajic during the Serie A match against Novara.

Rossi clambered into the dugout and attempted to punch the Serbian after the 20-year-old sarcastically applauded a decision to replace him, with Fiorentina at that stage losing 2-0 against a team that has been relegated to the second division.

Fiorentina, which won the last of of its two Italian titles in 1969, fought back to draw 2-2. It left "La Viola" hovering above the bottom three and still needing a point from the last two rounds to ensure another season in Serie A.

Club president Andrea Della Valle dismissed former Lazio and Palermo coach Rossi immediately after the match, with no successor yet announced.

"(In a) few seconds, months of stress came out. I am sorry, because the manager has never made such actions. I have to take this decision for his goodwill, so he can understand he was wrong. No provocation can justify that reaction," Della Valle said on Fiorentina's media website.

"With the due proportions, we will take serious disciplinary measures for Ljajic too. It is not up to me justifying Delio Rossi, but he has never done anything like that."

Rossi's dramatic departure comes just months after he was signed in the hope of turning around the Tuscan team, which finished ninth last season.

He replaced the fired Sinisa Mihajlovic in November but has failed to significantly boost results, with the club 15th in the table, six points above the drop zone.

"I am sorry to witness this in my 10th year at the club and I believe the manager's contribution helped us to win in Rome and Milan," Della Valle said after the match.

"I believed we would have achieved safety from relegation tonight and, definitely, I was not expecting to take this decision tonight. This team requires more unity if we want to avoid relegation. I know that at this moment Delio Rossi is suffering more than anyone else and I want to respect the work he has done here for us."