• Champions League

Zlatan cleared to face Barca

ESPN staff
March 26, 2013
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will face Barcelona © Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is free to play in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against former side Barcelona after having his two-game ban cut to one by UEFA on Tuesday.

UEFA accepted PSG's appeal and halved the suspension imposed after the Sweden international was sent off for a high challenge on Andres Guardado during his side's 2-1 last-16 first-leg win at Valencia.

The French club's representatives at the appeal hearing argued successfully that the challenge was not deserving of such a harsh punishment.

A statement published by UEFA read: "The UEFA Appeals Body has accepted the appeal lodged by Paris St Germain against a two-match ban meted out to striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, reducing his suspension to one game.

"The 31-year-old striker had incurred the original penalty from the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body after being dismissed in the closing seconds of PSG's 2-1 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg victory at Valencia on 12 February.

"Following PSG's appeal, the UEFA Appeals Body has decided to commute that suspension to one match, which Ibrahimovic served in the second leg against Valencia in Paris on March 6.

"He will now be available for the French side's quarter-final opener against his old team, Barcelona, on Tuesday.''

Ibrahimovic sat out the 1-1 second-leg draw with Los Che, in which Carlo Ancelotti's side booked their place in the last eight of the competition. He had also been expected to miss the first leg against Barca at the Parc des Princes on April 2 as part of his ban, but is now able to play in both that clash and the second leg at the Camp Nou on April 10.

Ibrahimovic spent a mixed season with the Catalan club in 2009-10, leaving by mutual consent after falling out with then coach Josep Guardiola. The striker has already faced his former team before while playing for AC Milan in last season's Champions League.

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