- Joey Altidore claims he was “choked” in half-time scuffle.
- Violence erupted in tunnel at Toronto v New York Red Bulls MLS play-off tie.
- Red Bulls’ Sacha Kljestan says his conscience is clear.
Toronto striker Jozy Altidore claims he was “choked” in a half-time brawl during an MLS fixture. And the ugly fight was caught on video.
A fiery second-leg play-off clash between Toronto and New York Red Bulls boiled over in the tunnel after Altidore was involved in an incident in the opening 45 minutes.
It started when the former Sunderland star scuffled with Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams and Sacha Kljestan leaving Altidore and the latter with yellow cards.
The row spilled into the tunnel on the whistle. According to the Toronto manager, Altidore was “ambushed” by the New York Red Bull players.
He told ESPN: “We’ve lost [Altidore] as of now. There’s video footage I think of what happened in the tunnel.
“From my estimation and from what I’ve heard, Jozy basically got ambushed in the tunnel and we’ll see where that goes.
“I just have witness accounts and we are working on the video of what happened, but Jozy was followed in, basically confronted and he turned around and from my understanding the next thing you know there were four, five or six Red Bulls people all rushing towards him at the same time and the rest we’ll see.”
Altidore claimed he was attacked from behind.
He told TSN: “It’s disappointing. First I’ve got to apologise to all the fans and all the people who came out to BMO, watching it at home.
“He tried to come get me from behind, choked me, pushed me. He found out the hard way he shouldn’t do something like that. Look, I apologize for my actions but I had to defend myself.”
Kljestan denied allegations, saying: “At halftime, he shoved me into the wall. And so I have a clear conscience. I don’t feel like I deserve a red card, so it’s a pretty helpless feeling not to be able to play in the second half because of that.”
Toronto lost the game 1-0 but went through to the semi-finals on away goals with the aggregate score finishing 2-2.