Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be banned for 3 matches for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings.
Ibrahimovic, 35, has accepted his Football Association charge for violent conduct and will miss Manchester United’s next three domestic games, which includes their FA Cup quarter-final fixture at Chelsea and the Premier League fixtures with Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.
However, Zlatan, who was also United’s leading scorer this season with 26 goals, will be eligible to play in the Europa League tie against Rostov in Russia on Thursday. He is due to return in the Premier League against Everton on 4 April.
While Ibrahimovic denied intent behind his action, he looked prepared to accept any punishment meted out by the FA under retrospective inspection.
“In my situation, I jump up, I jump high,” Ibrahimovic said in the post-match interview. “At the same time I protect myself and unlucky he jumps into me. Many times this occasion happens.”
“I respect every decision,” he added on the possibility of retrospective action being taken against him. “I am not here to attack anybody. My purpose was not to do that. The game is hard.”
Meanwhile, Mings could be sanctioned with a ban of his own for an alleged stamp on the Ibrahimovic’s head. He landed on the United forward’s head with his studs before his rival caught him in the face with his elbow at a corner.
Deliberate stamping and elbowing are both red card offences, but the FA suggested that Mings could face an increased ban for his offence, claiming in an official statement that the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed by the Bournemouth defender is ‘clearly insufficient’.