An FC United player punched his girlfriend in the face and smothered her cries with a duvet after being sent off in a crucial FA Cup tie.
Scott McManus, 22, left his terrified 20-year-old partner fearing for her life during the vicious attack, a court heard.
He had been on a boozy night out after his dismissal in FC United’s second round clash with Brighton.
McManus, of Woodward Road, Prestwich, felt he had cost his side victory in the 1-1 draw after being shown a red card for violent conduct, magistrates in Salford heard.
The former Manchester United trainee launched the attack after returning to the Salford home he shared with his partner and their baby daughter.
Steve Woodman, prosecuting, said: "While the sheet was covering her face she was struggling to breathe, all she could think about was that she was going to die. He told her he would kill her if she called the police and that if he couldn’t get to see their daughter again he’d make sure she couldn’t either."
McManus pleaded guilty to common assault and was handed a 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years, a five-year restraining order, a two-year supervision order. He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to his former partner.
Martin Jones, defending, said: "When he got home he decided it would be best if they slept separately and that he would leave her to her own devices. Unfortunately she was suspicious and upon confronting him did not believe what she was being told. She took considerable exception to this and unfortunately things degenerated from there."
McManus had been sent off for elbowing an opponent. FC United had been leading 1-0 in what had been billed as the biggest game in the non-league club’s history. His side conceded a late equaliser and missed out on a money-spinning third round tie after losing the replay 4-0.
McManus has since signed for FC Halifax Town.
Det Con Nicola Wood, from Salford CID, said: "I want to praise the victim for having the courage to call police immediately and report her ordeal.
"Rather than suffer in silence for years and risk becoming a repeat victim, she bravely stood up to McManus and thanks to her we were able to prosecute him. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to other people who may be victims of domestic abuse and urge them to come forward, both for themselves and for the sake of any children they may have.
"GMP has specially-trained domestic abuse officers who can support them throughout the criminal and judicial processes and there is also a wide variety of other organisations out there that can offer support and advice."
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know something who may be suffering, you can call GMP on 0161 872 5050 or visit www.gmp.police.uk for information. The National Domestic Violence Helpline can be reached on 0808 2000 247 or you can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.