A three-game La Liga suspension for Robert Lewandowski will begin with Barcelona’s matchup with Atletico Madrid this weekend.
During Barcelona’s 2-1 victory against Osasuna in November, the Poland international was penalized after receiving a second yellow card and making a gesture towards the official, Jesus Gil Manzano.
In the first half of the fiercely contested La Liga match, Lewandowski was dismissed for just the second time in his illustrious career; teammate Gerard Pique was also dismissed, despite not even participating.
On New Year’s Eve, Barca was scheduled to play Espanyol in the Catalan derby, which would have been their first game following Lewandowski’s banishment.
But after numerous appeals during the World Cup break were rejected, they learned last Friday from a Madrid court that the striker’s suspension had been temporarily removed, pending a final verdict.
Lewandowski’s initial one-game suspension for receiving a second yellow card was unrelated to Barcelona’s appeals over the additional suspension after his dismissal due to his gesture toward the referee after receiving the card.
As a result, Espanyol has filed an appeal with the Spanish FA, making it clear that they do not believe Lewandowski’s three-match suspension was lifted for this game.
Xavi Hernandez’s team was unexpectedly held to a 1-1 draw by Espanyol as Marcos Alonso’s early strike was cancelled out by a penalty from Joselu in the second half.
The presence of Lewandowski had no impact on Xavi Hernandez’s team. It was a game that may have hurt Barca’s chances of winning the league championship.
Lewandowski’s three-match La Liga suspension was upheld by Spain’s Administrative Court of Sport on Wednesday, rejecting Barcelona’s attempt to get the sentence overturned.
Despite being told by officials that the ban was on hold, the club may still face penalties for choosing him for the match against Espanyol.
Lewandowski shouldn’t have been in the starting lineup for Barcelona, according to Espanyol, who claimed to have alerted the Spanish FA and referee Mateu Lahoz about this prior to Saturday’s game.
Espanyol has since filed an appeal to have Lewandowski removed from the lineup. Barcelona runs the risk of forfeiting the one point they earned during the game, which would allow Real Madrid to pass them for first place in La Liga.
The absence of the Polish striker, who scored 13 goals in his first 13 La Liga games, would undoubtedly be a major setback for Xavi’s team.
Lewandowski will no longer play in any of Barca’s upcoming three La Liga games. He will not play in this weekend’s encounter against third-placed Atletico, then not play against Getafe or Girona.