Ex-Hearts striker Mauricio Pinilla banned for hitting referee

Mauricio Pinilla, on loan at Genoa, was sent off against parent club Atalanta. Picture: Getty
Mauricio Pinilla, on loan at Genoa, was sent off against parent club Atalanta. Picture: Getty
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Nomadic former Hearts player Mauricio Pinilla has been banned for five games after hitting the referee in Genoa’s 5-0 defeat to Atalanta on Saturday.

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The striker was sent off following two bookings – the first for a mistimed challenge and the second for arguing with the decision.

The 33-year-old striker capped 45 times by Chile is currently on loan at Genoa from Atalanta.

Pinilla was initially signed on loan from Sporting Lisbon under former owner Vladimir Romanov before later rejoining the side on a permanent contract.

During his stay in Edinburgh, Pinilla hit the headlines for many of the wrong reasons. The player was involved in a nightclub brawl and would go on to be banned from the national side.

The striker will be fondly remembered by Hearts supporters for a sweet finish in a 3-1 rout of Aberdeen at Pittodrie in 2006. Pinilla was later sent off in the same game for a second bookable offence, when he threw the ball away after a free-kick was awarded.

The latest offence highlights a trend of poor conduct that has blighted much of his career.

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