• Copa del Rey

Atletico facing punishment after Ronaldo incident

ESPN staff
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Atletico Madrid could face punishment after Cristiano Ronaldo was hit on the head with a cigarette lighter thrown from the crowd during Real Madrid's 2-0 Copa del Rey semi-final second leg win on Tuesday evening at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

Ronaldo scored two early penalties in the game to seal Madrid's 5-0 aggregate passage to the final. He was then hit by the object thrown by an unidentified supporter as he walked from the pitch accompanied by team-mates Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso at the half-time break.

Referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco included the incident in his official match report submitted to the Spanish FA after the game. Under competition rules the host club could now be fined up to €30,000 and have their ground closed for one to three games if the incident is judged serious enough.

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Madrid club captain Iker Casillas told his club site that some kind of punishment was merited given Ronaldo might have been injured.

"There is always someone that tries to smear the image of a club like Atletico Madrid," Casillas said. "It does not reflect how the majority of their fans are. [But] I think the consequences could be serious because it could have hurt a player."

Ramos said in the mixed zone that the person who threw the lighter - if they could be identified - should be the one punished.

"The Calderon is a stadium that shows its affection for its team," Ramos said. "This stains and spoils a spectacle like football. The cameras are there for things like this, and if they find him they should ban him for a long time."

Atletico director Clemente Villaverde attempted to play down the incident afterwards, when asked in Marca if his club might now face punishment from the La Liga authorities.

"It is an isolated incident, nothing else fell [from the stands]," Villaverde said. "The player was not injured. A lighter would not normally cause much damage. I am delighted that Cristiano has no problems."

Ronaldo had moments earlier been booked [perhaps harshly] for an aerial challenge on Javier Manquillo which saw saw the young Atletico right-back and awkwardly and be rushed immediately to hospital for tests on his back and neck.

The Madrid talisman reportedly phoned Manquillo straight after the game to ask if he was okay, and Atletico tweeted a medical report: "Sprained neck vertebrae. X-Rays and neurological tests normal. He will remain in hospital for observation."

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