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Neymar to miss El Clasico against Real Madrid

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Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva (L) walks during the Spanish league football match Malaga CF vs FC Barcelona at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga on April 8, 2017. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

Barcelona will be without key man Neymar as the Brazilian has been hit with a three-game suspension. The ban comes in the wake of his dismissal and sarcastic applause directed at the referee in a 2-0 defeat by Malaga.

His absence is a huge blow for Luis Enrique’s side ahead of the crunch clash as rivals Real Madrid lead the Spanish champions by three points in the table with one game in hand.

The 25-year-old was shown two yellow cards in Malaga loss. The first caution came as a surprise as he was punished for delaying the taking of a free-kick by tying his laces.

His second booking followed a clumsy challenge and tangle of legs, which left the referee no choice but to give the striker his marching orders. As Neymar left the pitch, he sarcastically applauded referee Gil Manzano. Originally the ban would have been for one match but his reaction to the red card has cost him dearly, with an added two matches added to his suspension.

The second yellow card for the 25-year-old followed a reckless late challenge.

The official then included the incident in his report to the competition committee at the Spanish FA. A disciplinary panel judged his actions to be worthy of an additional ban, meaning he will not be able to play against Real Sociedad, Real Madrid and Osasuna.  

It is his absence for El Clasico, which will sting the most with Zinedine Zidane’s side targeting a decisive victory in the race for the title on April 23.


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