Essien given two-match ban for Hamann horror tackle

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien was given a two-match ban by Uefa yesterday for last week's horrendous tackle on Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann.

The Premiership champions will discover today who they will be paired with in the last 16 of the Champions' League and, after a meeting of Uefa's disciplinary panel in Nyon, Essien now knows he will miss both home and away legs of Chelsea's next European clash.

The Ghana international has been punished for a studs-first lunge on Hamann, catching the midfielder just below the knee as Liverpool held Chelsea to a goalless draw in their final Group G match at Stamford Bridge.

Hamann described the challenge, which went unnoticed by the German referee, Herbert Fandel, as the worst he had suffered in his career. That led to Uefa studying video evidence, while the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, demanded action be taken after he also viewed the tackle.

Uefa promptly issued a charge of gross unsporting conduct against the 23 year old, who attempted to diffuse the situation by apologising to Hamann, insisting the challenge "was accidental and that there was no malicious intent." Essien, who escaped disciplinary action earlier this season following a similar tackle on Bolton's Tal Ben Haim, has since stated he is "not a violent player".

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