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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Fiorentina's Mauro Zarate claims Inter Milan players punched him twice

Mauro Zarate was sent off for grabbing Inter's Jeison Murillo in stoppage time

Fiorentina striker Mauro Zarate said he was punched twice during the scenes that marred the end of the Viola's 2-1 win on Sunday night, while no one from Inter Milan spoke to the media.

After Khouma Babacar scored the winner in stoppage time, Zarate initially refused to give the ball back to Inter. A scuffle ensued, and Zarate was sent off after grabbing Inter's Jeison Murillo by the neck.

Inter, already angry about Alex Telles' red card earlier in the match, also had a man sent off in the waning moments as the referee took umbrage at Geoffrey Kondogbia's sarcastic applause.

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Inter manager Roberto Mancini then skipped his postgame news conference, and neither he nor his players spoke to television or radio outlets.

Zarate apologised for his red card in a message on Twitter, but he claimed he had been assaulted before he was sent off.

"Apologies to the television viewers for the ugly scenes!" Zarate wrote.

"Three points and still third! I am very happy, shame about the red, but when you receive two punches from two different players it is difficult to stay calm.

"Obviously I should not react even in these situations. Forza Viola."

Fiorentina moved up to third place with the result, and manager Paulo Sousa hailed his team's persistence.

"There was intensity and vertical passing, I was pleased to see the team step up like that. When a side doesn't have possession and sits deep, we often allow them to dictate the tempo, but we kept believing and stepped it up after the break.

"I saw a lot of character and my team is becoming more mature in certain situations. I am happy, as to win a game like this when fighting back gives confidence."

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