Luis Suarez handed two-match ban over Espanyol tunnel row

The Uruguayan will miss the return leg at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat stadium next Wednesday

 Luis Suarez handed two-match ban over Espanyol tunnel row

Emilio Morenatti / AP/Press Association Images

Luis Suarez has been banned for two games for his involvement in a tunnel row following Barcelona's win over local rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

In an ill-tempered match in which eight Espanyol players were booked and two sent off, Barcelona ran-out 4-1 winners and the club confirmed in a statement that they would be appealing the ban. 

"FC Barcelona received notification on Friday from the Spanish Football Federation that striker Luis Suárez was to face a two-match suspension for taking part in incidents between players from Barça and Espanyol in the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms following Wednesday's Copa del Rey last 16 first leg at Camp" the statement reads.

"FC Barcelona will immediately proceed to appeal the ban. If the sanction holds up, Suárez would miss the return leg next Wednesday and a hypothetical first leg of the quarter-finals, should Barça qualify.

"In the appeal, FC Barcelona is expected to argue that the player, as he later stated, did not use the allegedly offensive words that were attributed to him in the referee's official notes following the match".

Neymar celebrates scoring against local rivals Espanyol. Image: Manu Fernandez / AP/Press Association Images

Papakouly Diop had clashed with Suarez earlier in the night and is alleged to have directed vile insults at the former Liverpool striker ("I s**t on your w***e mother") in Spanish and was subsequently dismissed.

In the report, published by Diario Sport, referee Juan Martinez Munuera states that Suarez "provoked a confrontation" from opposition players after the final whistle.

"At the end of the game, once in the tunnel, Barca’s No 9, Suarez, Luis, while the Espanyol players were coming up the stairs, waited for them and shouted at them on various occasions," he is reported as saying.

"He said: 'I’m waiting for you, come here! You’re a waste of space'.

"It provoked a confrontation between players of both clubs and the present security guards had to get involved, as did coaches of both teams."

The Spanish FA's disciplinary committee has decided to impose a two-game sanction, which would keep Suárez from playing in the return leg at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat stadium next Wednesday.

The Uruguayan striker has a long history of controversy on the pitch, having previously been punished by the English FA for racially abusing French defender Patrice Evra, and has been cited on three separate occasions for biting opponents.