Artur Jorge was knocked to the ground by the Sporting Lisbon striker Ricardo Sa Pinto. Witnesses said that Sa Pinto turned up at the Sporting training ground, where the national team was preparing for Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Northern Ireland, and demanded to speak to the coach.
Carlos Moia, a director of Benfica, who was present at the ground, said that Sa Pinto then struck Jorge, knocking him down. Jorge, who appeared unhurt in the attack, said later that the incident would have no effect on the preparation of the team. The exclusion of the volatile Sa Pinto was one of the surprises in the 20-man squad named by Jorge for the game.
No reason was given for the decision to drop the striker, who has 21 caps for Portugal, but press reports have spoken of disciplinary problems. A Portuguese federation member said he would be pressing for an immediate ban to be imposed on Sa Pinto.
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