Madrid: Barcelona`s appeal against Lionel Messi`s yellow card for time wasting after he was hit on the head by a plastic bottle in Sunday`s La Liga game at Valencia has been rejected by the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF).
Messi was celebrating Barca`s 94th-minute winner with his team mates near the corner flag at the Mestalla stadium when the bottle was thrown from the stands.
Messi was examined by a member of Barcelona`s medical staff after the final whistle and did not appear to be injured, giving the thumbs-up as he walked off the pitch.
The RFEF`s competition committee confirmed the caution in a statement published on the federation`s website (www.rfef.es) on Wednesday, rejecting the appeal Barca lodged on Tuesday.
The referee said in his match report the card was shown because Messi "delayed his return to his half of the pitch after the goal was scored with the intention of wasting time".
Valencia vowed to ban the bottle-throwing fan from the Mestalla for life once the person had been identified.
Barca`s 1-0 win kept them hard on the heels of leaders Real Madrid who are two points clear of their arch-rivals after 13 matches thanks to Saturday`s 2-1 victory at Malaga.