Aston Villa defender Matty Cash was shown a yellow card after revealing a message of support to his Poland team-mate stuck in Kiev amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Tomasz Kedziora, who plays his club football with Dynamo Kiev, remains in the Ukrainian capital with his family.
Cash scored Villa’s opening goal in Saturday’s Premier League clash against Brighton and celebrated by removing his jersey to reveal a touching message to Kedziora: “Tomasz Kedziora + family stay strong my bro <3”. Taking off your shirt is considered an excessive celebration, and is a bookable offence.
Earlier on Saturday Poland said they would not play their World Cup qualifiers against Russia in March.
Russia is scheduled to host Poland in the semi-finals of its strand of the World Cup playoffs on March 24th. Polish national team players took to social media to express their support for the move. “It is not an easy decision, but there are more important things in life than football,” Cash, Kamil Glik, Mateusz Klich and others wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
“Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian nation and our friend from the national team, Tomasz Kedziora, who is still in Kiev with his family.”
National team captain Lewandowski tweeted: “I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues.
“Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”
Poland and Serie A side Juventus' goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, whose wife was born in Ukraine, didn't mince his words on Instagram: "I refuse to play against players who choose to represent the values and principles of Russia," he said.
“I refuse to take part in a sporting event that legitimates the actions of the Russian government.”