Ibrahimovic ban reduced to two games

Rome: Zlatan Ibrahimovic`s ban for violent conduct was reduced from three games to two but the Sweden forward will still miss next weekend`s Milan derby.

The AC Milan striker was sent off two weeks ago for striking Bari`s Marco Rossi in the ribs, after which he copped the expected and regulation three-game ban.

But Milan appealed and the Federal Court of Justice decided to reduce his ban by a game.

He has already served one game of his suspension, in which he was sorely missed as Milan lost 1-0 against a Palermo side that had lost their previous five matches.

He will still miss the derby on April 2 at the San Siro, in which Milan are the nominal hosts, but will be free to return for the trip to Fiorentina a week later, thus greatly boosting Milan`s title hopes.

Ibrahimovic was originally banned for having "deliberately hit" Rossi off the ball -- which was nowhere near the pair at the time.

But the reduction was given as Milan`s lawyer Leandro Cantamessa successfully argued that the referee`s opinion of how far away the ball was, was subjective and that Ibrahimovic`s strike could conceivably have been delivered with the aim of pushing Rossi away from the ball so that he would have a greater chance of winning it.

Having reduced Ibrahimovic`s ban, the Federal Court of Justice also decided to knock off one game from the three-game suspensions given to Lazio`s Stefan Radu and Parma`s Daniele Galloppa, again both earned for violent conduct.

Milan lead Inter by two points at the top of Serie A with Napoli just a point further back in third, with eight matches left to play.

Bureau Report

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