Mascherano apologises for kicking medical official

The Barcelona player lost his temper in Tuesday's qualification game against Ecuador and realises his behaviour was "embarrassing" and unacceptable
Javier Mascherano has apologised for kicking a medical official in Argentina's 1-1 World Cup qualification draw against Ecuador.

The Barcelona defender earned himself a straight red card in the 86th minute of the encounter after repeatedly kicking a stretcher-bearer in the back whilst he was taken to the sidelines for treatment.

"One must be big enough to admit it when you make a mistake. What happened is really embarrassing and it saddens me. I hope that my mistake does not tarnish the good image of the team," Mascherano told reporters.

"I was wrong and I apologise. I am generally not the kind of player to cause controversy and this is quite embarrassing.

"The stretcher was going too fast and I felt that I was about to fall off. I wanted to warn him, but my reaction cannot be justified."

Argentina sit atop of the table in South America with 26 points from 13 games, holding a three-point lead over Colombia, who have a game in hand.