Serie A - Ibrahimovic to miss Milan-Juve
Thu, 23 Feb 13:15:00 2012
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss out this weekend's Serie A clash between his current club Milan and former employers Juventus after having his three-match suspension confirmed.
Banned for three matches for slapping an opponent against Napoli earlier this month, Ibrahimovic has already served two games and had appealed for the sanction to be reduced in order to be eligible for Saturday's meeting at the San Siro (1945 GMT).
Milan top Serie A with 50 points and 48 goals scored from 24 games but Juventus, who have conceded 14, are one point behind and have a game in hand.
Juventus have subjected champions Milan to two of their six defeats in all competitions this season, winning 2-0 in Turin in Serie A in October and 2-1 at San Siro in the first leg of an Italian Cup semi-final earlier this month.
Since then, Milan have returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win at third-placed Udinese, a 4-0 demolition of Arsenal in the Champions League and 3-1 win at Cesena.
But they have slipped up in other big matches this season - losing to rivals Inter as well as Napoli, Lazio and Barcelona, while Juve's problems have been against smaller sides, drawing with Cagliari, Parma and Siena since the start of the year.
Former Juve striker Ibrahimovic, who started his career in Italy with Antonio Conte's side, will be a big loss for Milan given his immense form against Arsenal but the Swede has never been his very best against former employers.
Ibrahimovic catches reporter with car trying to steer out of crowded path
"It's an important challenge. I am happy with the squad, we have rediscovered our will to win," the Brazilian told Milan Channel.
Inter suffered further misery on Wednesday with a 1-0 defeat at Olympique Marseille in their Champions League round of 16 first leg.
Udinese, third with 42 points, visit Bologna in another Sunday evening game when fourth-placed Lazio complete a turbulent week at home to Fiorentina.
Beaten 5-1 at Palermo on Sunday, Lazio coach Edoardo Reja offered his resignation on Wednesday but it was turned down by the club.Eurosport / Reuters