Footballer kung-fu kicked goalkeeper

STRIKER 'did an Eric Cantona' after tempers flared in a bad-tempered Suffolk match.

A FOOTBALLER did an Eric Cantona and KUNG-FU kicked a goalkeeper in the face when trouble erupted in a bad-tempered match.

Dado Balde, 31, insisted he acted in self-defence when he attacked stunned keeper Clive Humphreys in the vicious assault.

Referee Martin Howard gave the striker a red card and abandoned the explosive local league clash as both teams squared up and hurled insults at each other, a court heard.

Balde was playing for Lowestoft International against Oulton Broad and Notleys in Suffolk when he swung into action after about 80 minutes.

The player was convicted of common assault yesterday (Fri) after the martial arts-type onslaught in the game in Corton last October.

David Cason, prosecuting, said Lowestoft International - made up of British, Portuguese, Africans and Iraqis - were winning 2-1 at the time.

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Balde said he acted after Mr Humphreys punched him as he threw the ball back into play.

But the outraged goalkeeper told Lowestoft magistrates: “He lunged at me and kung-fu kicked at my face. It made contact right under my chin.

"He was wearing football boots.

"He put me straight on my back on the ground. He ran towards me and flicked out his right leg to the right side of his body at shoulder height.”

Mr Humphreys said he suffered a two-inch cut on his chin and had a stiff jaw for days afterwards.

Ref Martin Howard said he saw no15 Balde kick the goalie.

He said: “I turned and saw no15 swing his leg and turn round and kick the goalkeeper in the face.

"I blew the whistle to stop the game. It was like a kung-fu style kick. He swung his leg right round."

Balde, of Victoria Terrace, Lowestoft, was sent off for violent conduct and the match stopped as a full-scale brawl threatened to erupt.

Balde told the court: “He (Humphreys) punched me with his right hand on my left cheek.

"I kicked him to stop him punching me again. I kicked him. It was the only way I could stop him from punching me.”

Lowestoft International captain Nuno Bourges said: “The keeper let the ball drop to the ground before moving his arm forward and punching Dado.

"As he was punched, he went back and then straight forward and kicked the keeper.”

Chairman of the bench John Wren told Balde: “You believed that you were to be further assaulted by Mr Humphreys and you therefore reacted by kicking him to the head.

"We find that the kick to the head was disproportionate to the original assault and not the use of reasonable force.

"We therefore find you guilty of common assault.”

Balde was bailed to be sentenced at the court on February 2.

Manchester United idol Eric Cantona stunned football when he kung-fu kicked Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons at Selhurst Park in January 1995.

The volatile French hitman was banned from playing for a year and got 120 hours of community service for assault after the notorious attack.