Barcelona's Mascherano handed two-match ban

Reuters , Wednesday 28 Oct 2015

BATE Borisov's Nikolai Signevich (R) jumps for a header with Barcelona's Javier Mascherano during their Champions League group E soccer match at the Borisov Arena stadium outside Minsk, Belarus, October 20, 2015 (Reuters)

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano has received a two-match suspension following his red card in Sunday's La Liga clash with Eibar for verbally abusing a linesman, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on Wednesday.

The Catalan side were worried the Argentine would miss El Clasico against Real Madrid on Nov. 21 if he had been hit with a four-match ban since Barca's squad is already stretched.

Referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande said Mascherano was dismissed for directing an insult, common in Argentina, towards the linesman but Barca appealed saying it was said in passing.

The suspension means the defender will miss Barcelona's league matches against Getafe and Villarreal.

Barca have suffered a series of injuries to key players including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Rafinha.

The squad has also been hampered because the club have not been allowed to bring in players over the last two transfer windows due to a FIFA ban over the illegal signing of minors.

However, last season's treble winners are joint leaders of La Liga with Real Madrid on 21 points from nine games following their 3-1 win over Eibar and top their Champions League group.

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