Zlatan Ibrahimovic accepts three-match ban

Manchester United striker to serve ban with immediate effect for violent conduct charge

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted a charge of violent conduct and will serve a three-match ban with immediate effect, the Football Association has announced. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted a charge of violent conduct and will serve a three-match ban with immediate effect, the Football Association has announced. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted his Football Association charge for violent conduct and will miss Manchester United’s next three domestic games.

The 35-year-old will be suspended for Monday’s FA Cup clash at Chelsea and Premier League fixtures with Middlesbrough and West Brom.

Ibrahimovic had been charged by the FA for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in Saturday’s draw at Old Trafford — and the Cherries defender could be sanctioned with a ban of his own for an alleged stamp on the Swede’s head.

Jose Mourinho’s leading marksman has scored 26 goals in his first season in English football and his absence will be keenly felt given no other United player has managed to reach double figures.

Ibrahimovic was in the travelling party bound for Russia on Tuesday and is available for both legs of their Europa League clash with FC Rostov, but he will be absent on the domestic scene until Everton visit Old Trafford on April 4th.

It compounds a bad few days for the veteran Swede after he had a spot-kick saved by Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc in the draw, having already had a run-in with Mings.

Their ongoing tussle escalated on the stroke of half-time when Mings’ studs landed on the side of Ibrahimovic’s head as the Cherries defender looked to hurdle both him and Wayne Rooney.

During the same United attack, Ibrahimovic’s right elbow then caught Mings on the side of the face when the duo jumped to meet a cross.

Both acts escaped punishment at the time as referee Kevin Friend failed to spot them, but a panel of three former elite officials judged each worthy of a sending-off offence and charges were brought on Monday.

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

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

Mings also protested his innocence, though the 23-year-old could be hit with an even longer suspension after the FA suggested that the standard three-match ban he would serve was “clearly insufficient”.

Eddie Howe’s club have challenged the charge and in particular the recommendation that he serves a longer suspension.

United and England captain Rooney had called for Mings to be punished while ex-Liverpool defender and pundit Jamie Carragher labelled the incident “disgraceful”.

“It wasn’t intentional,” Mings said. “If there is reaction (from pundits), there is reaction after.

“They have time to slow it down and look at it from different angles.

“When you are out there on the pitch you have to try and get back in and defend.

“I obviously didn’t mean it, but if there is reaction, there is reaction — everyone will have an opinion. That is football.”

A three-match suspension would rule Mings out of Bournemouth’s fixtures with West Ham, Swansea and Southampton.

Were the punishment to be any greater, he could also possibly be sidelined when the Cherries meet Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.

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