Soccer legend Diego Maradona, currently the head coach of Mexican second-division club Dorados de Sinaloa, is awaiting official word on a possible suspension for insulting referees and did not attend a post-match press conference following a scoreless draw in a playoff match.
Instead, his assistant coach, Luis Alberto Islas, answered questions from reporters after Wednesday night's first-leg contest here in the quarter-finals of the Apertura championship's postseason.
Maradona harshly criticized the lead referee's performance in his team's final regular-season match (a 1-1 draw against Atletico San Luis) on Saturday and compared him with Mexico's Edgardo Codesal, whose controversial officiating in the 1990 World Cup final is seen by many Albiceleste supporters as causing Argentina and its superstar attacking midfielder Maradona to lose 1-0 to West Germany.
After Dorados played to a 0-0 draw Wednesday night at Banorte Stadium in Culiacan against Mineros de Zacatecas, Maradona once against argued angrily with the on-field officials.
"Apparently there's a sanction for Diego Maradona, but they haven't formally told us," Islas said.
Maradona was seen texting on his phone during the playoff match against Mineros, in which his team failed to score despite numerous forays into the opposing club's area.
"Mineros dug in defensively. The changes they made showed they wanted to (play for a scoreless draw). That's why we went with more attacking players like (Juan Guillermo) Galindrez (Mosquera) and Facundo (Daniel Juarez). That was Diego's idea, but we're not sad about the result," Islas said, referring to Dorados' mid-game substitutions.
He noted that a lot of soccer remained to be played and that the second-leg match in Zacatecas late Saturday afternoon at Carlos Vega Villalba Stadium would be an opportunity for Dorados to bounce back from the disappointing draw.
"The opponents are getting familiar with one another, and Zacatecas is a good team. Looking at their players one by one, we need to be wary of them. At this juncture, the games are very evenly matched, but we trust that Dorados now has a style (of play) and we're going to stick with that," Islas said.