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Muscat handed eight-match ban

Zahra out for rest of the season

Adrian Zahra

Adrian Zahra

The colourful career of controversial former Socceroo Kevin Muscat could be set for an ignominious end after he was yesterday handed an eight-match suspension by A-League authorities.

The Melbourne Victory skipper was referred to the league’s Disciplinary Committee for an ugly challenge on Melbourne Heart player Adrian Zahra last weekend, which has sidelined the winger for the rest of the season.

The decision means the 37-year-old will be ineligible to play for the Victory again this season and he said that the horror tackle, which he described as “mistimed”, perhaps showed the game had passed him by. In a statement released by the club, Muscat accepted the penalty.

“While I was relieved to hear Adrian’s injuries weren’t career-threatening, I’m still bitterly disappointed by my actions and I wish him a speedy recovery,” Muscat said. He added: “I haven’t really given any thought to my future.

“My focus over recent days has been on Adrian Zahra and I was pleased to be able to personally apologise to him on Monday – which thankfully he accepted.

Footage of the tackle went around the world on YouTube, where it attracted more than one million views.

Both Muscat and Zahra have Maltese parentage. Muscat has played with Crystal Palace, Wolves, Rangers and Millwall, winning 51 caps for Australia.

As the up-and-coming Zahra has never represented Australia, he would be eligible to play for Malta if he obtains a Maltese passport. The 20-year-old initally joined Heart on a trial basis but his performances earned him a two-year contract with the A-League club in December.

It is believed that Ray Farrugia, the newly-appointed Malta U-21 coach who had a long spell with Australian club Melita Eagles during his playing career, is looking to establish contact with Zahra to see whether he would be interested to play for our U-21 team.

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