FA rejects Ronaldo's appeal but Ferguson in the clear

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A Football Association disciplinary commission hearing yesterday rejected Manchester United's claim that Cristiano Ronaldo was wrongfully dismissed in Saturday's defeat at Manchester City and the winger will now miss Sunday's Premiership match against Liverpool. However, his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has escaped FA action after his half-time altercation with the referee, Steve Bennett.

Ronaldo was sent off on Saturday for a lunge at the City striker Andy Cole with United behind 2-0 in the league match. Bennett showed the 20-year-old a straight red card and United went on to lose 3-1.

United's rejection means Ronaldo will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect. He will miss tonight's FA Cup third-round replay with Burton Albion, Sunday's Liverpool game and next Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final second leg with Blackburn - all at Old Trafford.

Ferguson has been more fortunate after letting fly with a verbal tirade at Bennett about the Orpington official's handling of the Manchester derby.

The United manager was particularly annoyed by Stephen Jordan's tackle on Wayne Rooney, which saw the City man rake his studs down the striker's shin, which went unpunished. However, Bennett did not include any mention of misconduct from either Ferguson or any details of Rooney allegedly kicking a dressing-room door in his report to Soho Square, and the matter is now considered closed.