Belfast Telegraph

United face up to Zlatan ban but rival Mings fights for leniency

By Liam Blackburn

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' boot had landed on the Swede's head moments earlier and it is understood that although Bournemouth have challenged the charge, they are braced for the prospect of losing the defender for at least three games. The club are thought to be contesting the governing body's recommendation that his suspension is longer.

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

However, Jose Mourinho cannot call on his talisman 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.

His running battle with Mings 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 claimed Mings "jumped into my elbow" - though he had appeared prepared to accept any punishment.

"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 the striker.

Yet the FA took a different view, stating they would advise a mandatory three-match ban for Mings was "clearly insufficient".

Bournemouth expect to lose Mings for their games against West Ham, Swansea and Southampton. If their challenge is unsuccessful, Mings could potentially miss meetings with Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Ibra indiscretions

• Threatened to break Rafael van der Vaart’s legs after his Ajax team mate accused him of deliberately injuring him during a Sweden-Holland friendly

• Reportedly lunged two-footed and then head-butted Oguchi Onyewu while training with AC Milan

• Punched Bari defender Marco Rossi

• Slapped Napoli’s Salvatore Aronica

• Kicked St Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier in the chest

• Stamped on Valencia’s Andres Guardado

• Forced to apologise by the French sports minister for insulting a referee and calling France a “s*** country”.

Belfast Telegraph


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