Diego Maradona blasted fans as "cowards" on Thursday after he rushed from his dugout to the stands to rescue his girlfriend from an ugly confrontation, media reports claimed.
The Argentine legend had just seen his Al Wasl team lose 2-0 to Al Shabab in the UAE league when players' wives and girlfriends had to be escorted out of the Al Mamzar stadium.
The trouble started, according to the Gulf News, when Ciel, a Brazilian striker who had scored one of the goals, was targeted by Argentine supporters amongst Maradona's entourage.
Al Shabab fans then unleashed insults in the opposite direction with Maradona's partner Veronica Ojeda and the girlfriend of Al Wasl player Juan Mercier caught up in the melee.
As wives and girlfriends were escorted to their cars, Mercier's girlfriend tripped and fell down the stairs.
"Some people are cowards. They only attack women and have no courage to confront men," Maradona told www.gulfnews.com.
"This is the first time I am upset with the fans. If they are angry with me they should know that I did it (climbed the stands) for my wife because someone was calling her names. They shouldn't be angry with me they should be angry with the people who did this. They are cowards, not real fans."