Boyata denies kissing team-mate in Hertha Berlin win

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Defender Dedryck Boyata has said he did not kiss team-mate Marko Grujic during Hertha Berlin’s win over Hoffenheim on Saturday.

In the early stages of Hertha’s 3-0 win over Hoffenheim, Boyata held Grujic by the neck and came into very close contact with him, a clear breach of the Bundesliga’s guidelines on player contact.

It was one of the matches in a full schedule of German league fixtures which took place in empty stadiums and with social distancing measures in place at the weekend.

The former Glasgow Celtic and Manchester City defender accepted that he was wrong to get so close to Grujic, who is on loan from Liverpool, but said he was only giving his team-mate some tactical advice.

“It wasn’t a kiss, neither a celebration,” Boyata wrote in an Instagram post, which also included a video of the incident.

“I apologise for putting my hands on @grujicmarko face. I was giving him instructions about a set piece. We must definitely be careful now that we play under this situation. We have to adapt our way to play or celebrate,” read the apology.

Hertha Berlin coach Bruno Labbadia said: “I hope people understand this. It is only a recommendation to hold back.

“We have tested negative six times, most recently yesterday. Emotions are also a part of it.”

Boyata is not expected to receive retrospective action for the close contact, despite warnings that failing to abide by social distancing measures to keep players safe could lead to a red card.

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By Sky Sports

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