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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.