Drogba hit with two-match European ban

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The Independent Online

Didier Drogba has been banned for two matches by UEFA for his red card against Inter Milan.

The Chelsea striker was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on March 16 for stamping on Thiago Motta.

The 32-year-old already had a two-match suspended ban hanging over him for his behaviour towards referee Tom Henning Ovrebo in last season's semi-final against Barcelona.

That suspended ban is understood to relate to behaviour towards match officials, but the probationary period has now been extended from July 2011 to July 2013.

UEFA said in a statement: "Chelsea FC striker Didier Drogba has been suspended by UEFA's control and disciplinary body for two European club competition matches after being sent off in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against FC Internazionale Milano in London on 16 March.

"The suspension applies to the next two UEFA club competition matches for which Drogba would be eligible.

"The player's existing period of probation, which began on 15 July 2009 and was originally intended to run for two years, has also been extended to 15 July 2013.

"An appeal may be lodged within three days of the sending of the reasoned decision."

Drogba had insisted his stamp on Motta was accidental and Chelsea had hoped he would pick up just a single-match ban.

Drogba said after the match: "The referee was a bit hard on me for this red card.

"I stepped on his tendon, but it was not intentional and I was more focused on the cross and the ball. I'm going to try to make it better. All have been unhappy endings, so I hope next season the Champions League will be mine."

The Ivory Coast star missed the start of this season's Champions League campaign when he was banned for four matches by UEFA following the Barcelona semi-final, with a further two games suspended, although the ban was reduced to three games after Chelsea appealed.

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