Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic's suspension has been reduced from three matches to two, the Football Association has announced.
Matic was sent off for pushing Ashley Barnes after the Burnley striker had caught the Blues midfielder high on his shin with a late tackle during Saturday's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho defended Matic's reaction and branded Barnes' challenge as "criminal", but his protests have not spared his player from a spell on the sidelines.
"An appeal by Chelsea that the three-match suspension for Nemanja Matic is excessive has been upheld by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Tuesday 24 February 2015]," a statement on the FA's website read.
"The player was dismissed for violent conduct during the game against Burnley on Saturday 21 February 2015.
"The Regulatory Commission has reduced the Chelsea midfielder's suspension to two matches, to be served with immediate effect."
Matic will miss Sunday's Capital One final against Tottenham and next Wednesday's Premier League encounter at West Ham.
However, Chelsea have quickly responded with a statement that they find the decision appalling.
The statement reads:
“The Chelsea Football Club Board is extremely disappointed and frustrated that the FA Regulatory Commission has today decided not to reduce Nemanja Matic’s suspension to the maximum extent permitted under FA rules.
“Chelsea FC challenged the standard three-match suspension which automatically followed the red card issued to Matic by referee Martin Atkinson during Saturday’s Premier League match against Burnley.
“There has been universal condemnation of the reckless challenge made by Ashley Barnes on Matic and it is the club’s view that he has been unjustly punished with a two-match ban for his reaction to a career-threatening tackle.
“It is Chelsea’s opinion that referees and the football authorities must do more to protect players at all levels of the game from dangerous challenges. This decision also clearly demonstrates a need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process.
“The club awaits The FA’s written reasons, prior to commenting further.”
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