Fulham's Bernd Leno could now face FA action after pushing Bournemouth ballboy | OneFootball

Fulham's Bernd Leno could now face FA action after pushing Bournemouth ballboy | OneFootball

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·27 December 2023

Fulham's Bernd Leno could now face FA action after pushing Bournemouth ballboy

Article image:Fulham's Bernd Leno could now face FA action after pushing Bournemouth ballboy

Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno had a Boxing Day to forget as his side fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth, who are sharply climbing the table heading into 2024. Not only did the German concede a trio of strikes, but he could now be facing disciplinary action from the Football Association (FA) for pushing a ballboy in the 74th minute.

Justin Kluivert opened the scoring just before the half-time whistle with his tepid attempt somehow trickling under Leno’s body and into the back of the net. Things then turned from bad to worse for the west Londoners as their midfield enforcer Joao Palhinha gave away a penalty – the home side’s first in 609 days.

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Bournemouth’s talismanic striker Dominic Solanke, commonly coined as one of the league's most underrated players, lapped up the opportunity to add to his ever-growing tally for the season and duly slotted home from the spot kick, sending Leno the wrong way. To inflict even more misery on the former Arsenal stopper, Luis Sinisterra smashed home an emphatic effort from range to seal all the spoils.

While all those associated with the Cottagers will be looking to put their insipid loss behind them, Leno's well-documented action could make matters worse with him potentially set to face a spell on the sidelines via suspension if the FA deem him to be guilty of the offence.

Leno managed to escape red card for pushing ballboy

The stopper had already been booked in the 62nd minute

Bournemouth were in cruise control ever since they took the lead before the break, all while Fulham looked deflated – particularly on the back of two successive 5–0 victories against Nottingham Forest and West Ham United and that seemed to unsettle the likes of Leno. With his side trailing 2-0 and no easy route to a win, Leno became visibly frustrated with the ballboy with 15 minutes of normal time left on the clock. With his left hand, the stopper pushed the boy after collecting the ball for a goal kick.

The young lad, who Leno believed was wasting time, was taken aback by Leno’s actions, despite the push not being forceful enough to see him fall. The 31-year-old – ranked as the Premier League’s ninth-best goalkeeper - later embraced the youngster and apologised for his actions during a break in play, while a security guard at the Vitality Stadium had already checked whether he was alright.

Somehow, Leno managed to avoid receiving a red card for his ill-fated actions but could face a retrospective ban from the FA, as reported by the Guardian. Especially given his name was already in the book, Fulham fans and Leno, in particular, will be counting their lucky stars that he was not given further punishment – for now, at least.

Marco Silva pleads Leno’s innocence

Silva: 'We have to say the truth'

Fulham manager Marco Silva may have been displeased by his own outfit’s subpar display – but he was even more aggrieved by the supposed time-wasting tactics on show by Andoni Iraola’s men. Playing down the incident, Silva insisted that Leno’s contact with the ballboy was minimal – a touch to be precise.

“It is clear he [Leno] went to speak with the boy after that moment as the top professional and the really experienced player he is. He wanted to play quick and the ballboys were … I don’t know who gave instructions to them for them to always hold the ball and to delay the [restart of the] game … OK, we were losing, he ran towards the ball. I didn’t see him push the ballboy. “He touched the ballboy, he didn’t push the ballboy – they are different things. I’m not English, but I know the difference between one word and the other. We have to say the truth.”

While Silva looked to be getting a tune out of his roster with the aforementioned duo of 5–0 wins on the bounce, their loss down south means they now dwell in 13th spot heading into the New Year, four points off 10th-placed Bournemouth. Up next is the small matter of welcoming Arsenal to Craven Cottage on Sunday 31st December.

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