ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC has been BANNED from the first leg of Sweden’s World Cup play-off clash after viciously flooring Cesar Azpilicueta during their defeat to Spain on Sunday.
Luis Enrique’s side scored a late winner to book their spot at the 2022 tournament in Qatar and leave the Swedes facing the lottery of the play-offs.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic left Cesar Azpilicueta writhing in a heap[/caption]
Despite TV cameras not picking it up, Ibrahimovic was booked for the shove, according to Uefa’s official website[/caption]
With the score level at 0-0 in the 73rd minute, Swedish boss Janne Andersson chucked on Ibrahimovic – knowing that just one goal would see his side leapfrog Spain into top spot.
But the 40-year-old failed to have the sort of impact he’d have hoped for – with his most memorable contribution coming at the expense of Chelsea‘s right-back.
As a corner was swung in late on, Ibra aggressively whacked his shoulder into the back of Azpilicueta, with the defender crumpling to the ground.
Sergio Busquets, a team-mate of the striker during the 2009-10 campaign at Barcelona, led appeals to the referee.
Ibra appeared to have got away with the horror shove – but Uefa’s official website show that the veteran striker was BOOKED, despite it not being picked up by TV cameras.
Being his second yellow of the qualifiers, Ibrahimovic will now miss the crunch first leg of Sweden’s play-off clash.
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In Sunday’s game, Alvaro Morata scored the winner, sending his country to the World Cup finals in the process.
Dani Olmo’s shot was tipped onto the bar in the 86th minute, with the Juventus forward on hand to tap home the rebound.
After the match, boss Enrique admitted: “I felt more pressure now than in the Euros.
“We tried to work a lot on the mental side, always trying to keep it positive and the players responded well.
“I’m so proud of them and how they responded.”
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Alvaro Morata celebrates his late clincher[/caption]