Pumas UNAM midfielder Erik Lira has apologised for slapping a police officer on the helmet as he walked off the pitch while celebrating his team’s 4-3 win over Cruz Azul in the Mexican league on Sunday.

Lira’s action, which appeared to be playful, was caught on camera and went viral on social media, with some supporters saying his actions showed a lack of respect towards authority.

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“I want to offer an apology to anyone who may have been offended by my way of celebrating last Sunday, my intention was nothing more than to share a moment of great joy on the field and it never crossed my mind to disrespect anyone,” Lira said on Twitter.

“I send a special hug to the Security and Civil Protection bodies that keep order in our games and I reiterate my respect. Sincerely, Erik Lira.”

Earlier, Lira, 21, had excitedly put both of his hands on an on-field security officer and shaken him in a celebratory fashion after his team’s 83rd minute goal, which proved to be the winner.

Pumas had gone into Sunday’s home encounter, their final game of Liga MX Apertura regular season, knowing that a win would secure a playoff spot.

They were two goals down at the interval but scored three goals in the second half to edge Cruz Azul.

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