Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Lehmann defends boot throwing during match

AP , FRANKFURT, GERMANY

Stuttgart’s Jens Lehmann defended himself from criticism after he threw an opponent’s boot during a Bundesliga match.

Lehmann, a former Germany goalkeeper, picked up a boot lost by Hoffenheim player Sejad Salihovic and hurled it with a backward motion. The shoe landed on top of the net, where it was later claimed by Salihovic in Saturday’s 3-3 draw.

Both Salihovic and Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick had few kind words for Lehmann’s action, with Rangnick saying Lehmann could act in such a way “with his own teammates.”

Lehmann insisted he was within the rules and only wanted to remove an object that could have hindered play.

Describing why he threw the boot away, Lehmann said: “Normally the referee would stop the game and send the player off the field so he could put his shoe back on there.”

“So now the shoe lies where it could be an obstacle for a shot or a through pass, he said. “If Rangnick always follows everything as closely as he says he does, he would know that is what I do with everything in and around my penalty area.”

During a UEFA Cup match last week, Lehmann ripped off the headband of Stuttgart defender Khalid Boulahrouz and hurled it behind the goal, apparently after the Dutchman ignored something Lehmann had called out.

Lehmann is also remembered for leaving the stadium in anger and catching a tram after he was substituted at half-time playing for Schalke against Leverkusen in 1993.

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