Manila - Al Hilal striker Nasser Al Shamrani said it was a normal reaction to spit at Western Sydney Wanderers defender Matthew Spiranovic at the end of the AFC Champions League final earlier this month after claiming to be verbally abused by the Australian.
The Saudi Arabia striker, one of three players short-listed for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Player of the Year Award, could be clearly seen spitting in the direction of the substitute after his side lost 1-0 on aggregate to the Australians.
The 31-year-old diminutive forward, second leading scorer in the Champions League with 10 goals last term, was restrained by team mates after jumping to his feet from the floor and storming towards Spiranovic, amid reports the Saudi also threw a head butt.
"I do not expect that I will lose the chance to win this trophy (because of the incident)," he told reporters, through a translator, in the Filipino capital on the eve of the AFC prize giving.
"For me, I was provoked by the player of Sydney and this, for me, as a player, is a normal reaction. Sometimes it happens. He really actually used an abusive word away from sportmanship that provoked me.
"For him actually the team won, he is supposed to cool down and not to use abusive words or language against me. Which really provoked me. At the end of the day, he represents himself."
Follow up questions as to the nature of the abuse were shot down by uncomfortable AFC officials at the news conference featuring the three nominees for their prize, while Al Shamrani departed through a different exit to avoid journalists.
The AFC disciplinary panel met in Manila on Thursday, with a decision on any possible penalty expected in the coming days, but most likely after Sunday's gala dinner, which will be attended by FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Al Khalifa, who attended the second leg of the final in Riyadh, opted against criticising Al Shamrani.
"Disciplinary issues, I'm not entitled to talk about. That's an independent body and they had their meeting yesterday and we will have to wait and see," the Bahraini told a small group of reporters.
"I think every player has his days, good ones and bad ones. It is not just about Nasser, you look at the history of most players around the world they always have some incidents."