Aymeric Laporte appeared to slap Luka Modric after being grabbed around the throat as the pair came to blows inside the opening 10 minutes of Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. With the game on a knife-edge following last Tuesday’s pulsating 4-3 thriller at the Etihad Stadium, it was clear both sides were keen to get under one another’s skin in a bid to con the referee into some early bookings.
Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro could count himself lucky for escaping punishment when he chopped down Kevin De Bruyne from behind with a scissor challenge.
Yet it would prove to be the spark that saw this game spring into life as Man City and Real Madrid’s players clashed right in front of the official Daniele Orsato.
As the BT Sport cameras panned back to the action following the replay, City defender Laporte was sprawled out on the floor.
The returning Kyle Walker was also pictured leading his former Tottenham team-mate Modric away from the scene.
Meanwhile, Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva were keen to get into the referee’s ear, over both the tackle and the incident involving Modric that followed.
Replays showed Laporte pleading for Casemiro to be booked, something that Modric seemingly did not like.
He appeared to step to the centre-back, who continued to hold him at bay as he talked to the referee.
Modric then became more animated, raising his arm to Laporte’s throat – with the referee in full focus of the incident.
His rival then appeared to slap the Croatian on his way to spinning to the ground.
Laporte then rolled around on the turf clutching his face, as if he was seriously hurt.
Vincius Jr then made his feelings towards Laporte clear as City captain Dias held him off his grounded centre-back partner.
Both Laporte and Modric were booked for their troubles and the Spanish international was later bemused by the referee’s decision as he walked away from the scene of the crime.