Barca’s Koeman to miss crucial title clashes after two-match ban for referee ‘disrespect’


Madrid (AFP) – Ronald Koeman will miss crucial matches in Barcelona’s bid to win La Liga after the Spanish Football Federation on Friday banned him for two games after the Dutchman was sent off during his team’s 2-1 defeat at Granada.

The 58-year-old was handed the ban after being shown a red card in the 66th minute of Thursday’s loss, which has left the La Liga title race wide open, for “disparaging or disrespectful attitudes towards referees, officials or sports authorities”.

Koeman will be banned from the bench for Barca’s matches at Valencia on Sunday and at home to lead leaders Atletico Madrid the following weekend as the Catalan giants try to snatch the title from current champions Real Madrid.

Barca currently sit third in La Liga as the Spanish top flight heads into its final five fixtures with four teams in with a shout of the title.

Koeman’s side are two points behind Atletico and level on 71 points with second-placed Madrid, while form team Sevilla are a further point back in fourth after having won their last five matches.

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