Sunday 17 December 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended for three matches as Tyrone Mings contests ban

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, and Tyrone Mings, right, are both set to serve suspensions
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, and Tyrone Mings, right, are both set to serve suspensions

Manchester United will miss Zlatan Ibrahimovic for three games after he accepted a Football Association charge for violent conduct - while Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings also faces a ban for the ugly scenes at Old Trafford.

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals in his maiden season in English football, will be absent for Monday's FA Cup quarter-final trip to Chelsea as well as Premier League contests against Middlesbrough and West Brom having been charged for the incident where his elbow struck Mings in the face during Saturday's 1-1 draw.

Mings' left boot had landed on the Swede's head moments earlier and Press Association Sport understands that though Bournemouth have challenged his own FA charge, they are braced for the prospect of losing the defender for at least three fixtures.

The club are instead thought to be contesting the governing body's recommendation that his suspension is even longer.

Ibrahimovic travelled to Russia on Tuesday with his Manchester United colleagues and he is available for both legs of the Europa League tie with FC Rostov.

However, Jose Mourinho cannot call on his talismanic forward for domestic duties until Everton visit Old Trafford on April 4.

No other United player is in double figures for goals scored and his absence will be keenly felt as Mourinho chases a treble of cup competitions alongside a top-four finish in the league.

Their quest to finish higher than fifth was dealt a blow after Ibrahimovic had a second-half penalty saved by Artur Boruc against the Cherries, although his bad day has since been compounded by this week's FA charge and subsequent suspension.

His running battle with Mings in the lunchtime kick-off escalated on the stroke of half-time when the Bournemouth defender's studs scraped down the side of his head when attempting to hurdle both Wayne Rooney and Ibrahimovic.

In the same United attack, Ibrahimovic's right elbow then connected with Mings' head as the two jumped for a header.

Both players escaped punishment at the time as referee Kevin Friend failed to spot the incidents, yet action was brought on Monday once a panel of three former elite referees had observed video footage.

Ibrahimovic denied there was any intent - claiming Mings "jumped into my elbow" - though he had appeared prepared to accept any possible retrospective punishment when speaking after the game on Saturday.

"I respect every decision," he had said. "I am not here to attack anybody. My purpose was not to do that. The game is hard."

Mings had also professed his innocence by claiming he did not deliberately stamp on United's 35-year-old striker.

Yet the FA took a different view when they announced the charge, stating that they would advise a mandatory three-match suspension for Mings was "clearly insufficient".

Press Association Sport understands Bournemouth expect to lose Mings for their games against West Ham, Swansea and Southampton, yet they are challenging the recommendation he should be sidelined for even longer.

If they are unsuccessful, Mings could potentially miss meetings with Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham depending on the extent of the ban.

Press Association

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