Barcelona’s Suarez banned for Espanyol incident

Prosecutors say Spanish league president Javier Tebas has reiterated his belief of match-fixing. (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona striker Luis Suarez was suspended Friday for two Copa del Rey matches for insulting rival players.

The referee’s report for the heated match at Camp Nou that ended 4-1 for Barcelona on Wednesday said Suarez insulted Espanyol players in the tunnel after the match.

Referee Juan Martinez Munuera’s report states that Suarez told Espanyol’s players: "I am waiting for you, come here. You are trash."

Suarez picked up a yellow card during the match, and televised images showed him taunting Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez after Lionel Messi scored a free kick just before halftime to make it 2-1.

The ban will rule the Uruguay striker out of the return leg set for next week at Espanyol’s stadium and possibly the first leg of the quarterfinals.

This is Suarez’s first suspension since his four-month ban for biting an Italian player at the 2014 World Cup. The former Liverpool striker had already earned multi-match bans on two previous occasions for biting opponents and another for racial abuse.

Barcelona said in a statement it has appealed the ruling, denying Suarez insulted his opponents with the language recorded by the referee in his report.

Espanyol had two players, Papakouly Diop and Hernan Perez, sent off in the loss, and both will also miss the return leg. Diop earned a direct red card for insulting Suarez.

Wednesday’s match was the second of three derbies within two weeks between the crosstown rivals.

Last weekend, Espanyol held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the Spanish league in a home match that was marred by racist insults directed toward Barcelona striker Neymar. The Spanish league has denounced the insults to the Spanish government’s anti-violence committee for sport.

Suarez helped Barcelona win a rare treble of the Champions League, Spanish league and Copa del Rey last season. He also scored five goals in two matches to lead it to the Club World Cup title in December.

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