Dida has ban for feigning injury reduced to one match

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The Independent Online

Milan's goalkeeper, Dida, yesterday had his two-match Champions League ban for faking injury against Celtic effectively reduced to one game when Uefa's appeals body suspended the second match of the ban for one-year.

Dida pretended he was seriously injured after being brushed on the face by a pitch invader towards the end of Milan's 2-1 defeat at Celtic on 3 October. The Brazilian, who fell to the ground and was taken off on a stretcher, was subsequently banned for two games by Uefa, European football's governing body, for breaching rules concerning "loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship".

Milan appealed, saying the ban was excessive . Uefa partially upheld that appeal, saying: "One match will be deferred for a one-year period until 21 October 2008. This means that Dida will only serve the second match of his suspension if he commits a similar offence between now and then. The appeals body took note that Dida expressed his sincere regrets as regards his conduct."

Dida made a public gesture of apology to Milan fans before Sunday's Serie A defeat at home to Empoli by bowing to each corner of the ground with his hands clasped. He will be banned for tomorrow's Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk but will be available to play in Donetsk on 6 November.

The Celtic supporter, who identified himself to police the day after the match, was given a lifetime ban by the Scottish champions.

Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani said that Dida travelled with team lawyer Leandro Cantamessa to Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, for the appeal.

"We're satisfied with the reduction of one game," Galliani said. "It's fair that he's banned for one game, because he made a mistake. But not having hurt anyone, not being an act of violence, for us there were not the extremes for two games."

Celtic's captain, Stephen McManus, travelled to Lisbon for the Champions League match with Benfica despite being carried off on a stretcher with an oxygen mask during Saturday's Old Firm game.

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