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Pellegrini banned

Sunday, March 02, 2014

NYON, Switzerland - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been given a three-match ban, with one suspended for now, following his verbal assault on a referee in a recent Champions League match.

Pellegrini was incensed by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson's performance in City's 2-0 home defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 18, in which Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Martin Demichelis had been sent off for fouling him.

Banning the Chilean for three European games, but with one under probation for two years, UEFA said "the sanction is due to the coach's press statements and violation of the general principles of conduct".

Pellegrini disagreed with the penalty decision in the Barcelona game, arguing that the foul had started outside the penalty area and that City midfielder Jesus Navas had been impeded by Sergio Busquets in the build-up to the incident.

He also accused Eriksson of being "not impartial" and even suggested that he should not have been put in charge of the game because he came from Sweden.

Pellegrini will therefore be forced to follow the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 12 from the stands, and will not be allowed into the dressing room before the game either.

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