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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Ibra's costly elbow

(l-r) Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings and Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will both serve English FA bans following their clashes last Saturday. Pic: PA
(l-r) Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings and Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will both serve English FA bans following their clashes last Saturday. Pic: PA

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has accepted his English Football Association charge for violent conduct and will miss Manchester United's next three domestic games.

The 35-year-old will be suspended for Monday's FA Cup clash at Chelsea and Premier League fixtures with Middlesbrough and West Brom.

Ibrahimovic had been charged by the FA for elbowing Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings in Saturday's draw at Old Trafford - and the Cherries defender could be sanctioned with a ban of his own for an alleged stamp on the Swede's head.

Jose Mourinho's leading marksman has scored 26 goals in his first season in English football and his absence will be keenly felt given no other United player has managed to reach double figures.

Ibrahimovic was in the travelling party bound for Russia yesterday and is available for both legs of their Europa League clash with FC Rostov, but he will be absent on the domestic scene until Everton visit Old Trafford on April 4.

It compounds a bad few days for the veteran Swede after he had a spot-kick saved by Bournemouth's Artur Boruc in the draw, having already had a run-in with Mings.

Their ongoing tussle escalated on the stroke of half-time when Mings' studs landed on the side of Ibrahimovic's head as the Cherries defender looked to hurdle both him and Wayne Rooney.

During the same United attack, Ibrahimovic's right elbow then caught Mings on the side of the face when the duo jumped to meet a cross. Both acts escaped punishment at the time as referee Kevin Friend failed to spot them, but a panel of three former elite officials judged each worthy of a sending-off offence and charges were brought on Monday.

Ibrahimovic denied there was any intent - claiming Mings "jumped into my elbow" - but he had appeared prepared to accept any possible retrospective punishment when speaking after the game on Saturday.

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