Ex-Hearts striker Mauricio Pinilla banned for hitting referee

Mauricio Pinilla showed his fine abilities only fleetingly for Hearts
Mauricio Pinilla showed his fine abilities only fleetingly for Hearts
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Former Hearts striker Mauricio Pinilla has been banned for five Serie A matches for hitting a referee.

The Genoa forward was sent off during his side’s 5-0 loss to Atalanta for two quick bookings — the first for a tackle on visiting goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and the second for his protests.

The league’s disciplinary commission said in a statement that after being shown the first yellow card, Pinilla “directed offensive expressions to the referee accompanied by a meaningful and clear gesture with his arm”.

It added that after Pinilla was sent off he “approached the referee with a threatening and intimidating attitude ... hitting him with slaps on his arm and right hand and directing other threatening expressions to him.”

The 33-year-old Chile forward is on loan at Genoa from Atalanta.

Pinilla joined Hearts on loan from Sporting Lisbon in 2006, becoming an instant hit with supporters. However, persistent injury problems restricted his involvement and, despite later making his move to Tynecastle permanent, he left to join Brazilian outfit Vasco da Gama in 2008 having made just a handful of appearances for the Gorgie club.