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Football Reporting


Robert Lewandowski in three-game ban for offensive gesture

Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski has been handed an extended three-game ban for his reaction to being sent off in his side’s comeback 2-1 win at Osasuna last Tuesday.

Lewandowski, 34, received a red card for two bookable offences in the 31st minute with Barca a goal down and responded as he left by the pitch by making a gesture — touching his nose and pointing toward the referee, Jesus Gil Manzano — which was later deemed disrespectful and arrogant by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

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He denied the gesture was meant for the official, saying it was intended for his coach Xavi Hernandez following a conversation they had earlier this month, but the RFEF overlooked his explanation.

Lewandowski, who has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season, will miss the Catalan derby against Espanyol scheduled for Dec. 31 and the away games against Champions League contenders Atletico Madrid and Real Betis, with LaLiga now breaking for six weeks to accommodate the World Cup.

It was just the second red card of Lewandowski’s career. The forward, who will represent Poland in Qatar, was last sent off in 2013 during his time at Borussia Dortmund.

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Despite Lewandowski’s absence, Barca came from behind to beat claim one of their biggest wins of the season over Osasuna and ensure they remain top of the table during the World Cup.

Gerard Pique , meanwhile, has been handed a four-game ban after being dismissed in the same game, although he won’t serve the suspension after retiring from football.

He was sent off at half-time after unleashing a tirade of expletives at referee Gil Manzano, who he said has “screwed Barcelona” more than any other official.

Pique, 35, was set to play his last game for Barca before retirement but was not able to come on in the second half after being dismissed in the tunnel during the half-time break for his remonstrations.

Gil Manzano’s report read: “Gerard was sent off for the following reason: Once the first half ended, inside the tunnel, he spoke to me in the following terms: ‘Have you seen the corner [for the Osasuna goal] you gave against us? You are the referee that has screwed us the most by a distance.’

“Once his dismissal had been communicated to the club delegate, he continued repeating the same expressions detailed above and had to be led into the dressing room by club staff, while he spoke to me in the following terms: ‘It is a f—–g disgrace, motherf—-r.’”

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While Pique, who disputed Gil Manzano’s version of events, cannot be banned due to his retirement from the sport, he will be fined for his actions.

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