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Fulham defender Carlos Bocanegra has publicly apologised to Aston Villa’s Mark Delaney for his shocking challenge that could have broken the Welshman’s leg.

The American stopper flew into a rash challenge with Delaney, who was already on the floor sliding for the ball, and caught him plum on the shin.

The lunge caused an instant uproar from the Villa bench and earned Bocanegra a straight red card in Fulham’s 2-1 defeat at Loftus Road.

The former Chicago Fire man says that he went to see Delaney after the match but has still issued a public apology for his actions – insisting he did not intend to hurt him.

“I would like to say to Mark in public that I am sorry,” said Bocanegra. “I spoke to him on the team bus after the game and he was feeling a little better.

“His leg was wrapped up but they think he is going to be all right and I hope it works out for him. Hopefully he will heal quickly.

“I am really disappointed. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt him and I would never purposely injure a player.

“There was nothing malicious in it. Maybe I was a little tired. I got there a split second too late and caught his foot and it looked bad.

“But there was no intent whatsoever, I was going for the ball.

“I feel bad for Mark and for Fulham because I let the team down. We were losing and went down to 10 men. We didn’t need that.”

Delaney has not broken his leg and it is thought that he may escape with a lesser injury, but the tackle has still caused outrage with Villa players and management.