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Jan 25, 2011

Muscat's judgement day looms

Melbourne Victory skipper Kevin Muscat faces A-League extinction on Thursday night as judgement is delivered on the horrific tackle which has attracted worldwide condemnation.

Muscat is unlikely to attend in person the Football Federation Australia disciplinary committee hearing in Sydney which will decide his fate.

It looks certain to be a season-ending suspension of upwards of six matches for his shocking challenge on Melbourne Heart youngster Adrian Zahra last weekend.

For the 37-year-old, it is almost certain to finish his A-League career in disgrace, with it widely accepted this is the former Socceroos' last season as a player.

But he will be able to play in the Victory's upcoming Asian Champions League campaign - a domestic suspension having no bearing on the ACL competition.

The Victory have not yet officially ruled out a club presence in Sydney for the hearing.

But they say Muscat's acceptance of blame for the tackle and key officials being in Townsville on Wednesday night for the Victory's clash with the Fury make it both highly unlikely and logistically difficult.

Muscat has also phoned Zahra to apologise for his heavy tackle and Zahra accepted his apology, according to the Heart.

While Muscat's ban is unlikely to overtake then-Central Coast goalkeeper Danny Vukovic's nine-month suspension for striking a referee in 2008 as the A-League's heaviest, it is expected to move comfortably into second place.

Footage of the Muscat incident on video sharing website YouTube has attracted more than one million views, as well as heavy discussion on football television programs overseas.

Much of that discussion has been centred around whether the foul is the worst ever seen in a top-flight league - many comparing it to Manchester United hardman Roy Keane's "revenge" challenge on Manchester City's Alf Inge Haaland in 2001.

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