BARCELONA, Spain (AP)Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski is set to be available for Saturday’s Spanish league game against city rival Espanyol after a court temporarily lifted his three-game suspension.
A court of disputes in Madrid said Friday that Lewandowski should be allowed to continue playing until Spain’s administrative court for sport makes a final ruling on the appeal that Barcelona lodged against its player’s suspension.
”Being able to have him is great news, but knowing it a day before the game when you have been training to prepare to play without him is not the best timing for us,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said.
The Poland striker could still be suspended if the administrative court for sport rules against Barcelona’s appeal. But for now he is available to play against Espanyol at Camp Nou in Barcelona’s first game in seven weeks due to the World Cup break.
Lewandowski received a one-game suspension when he was sent off with a second yellow card during Barcelona’s 2-1 comeback win at Osasuna on Nov. 8. The Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee later added two more games to his suspension because of what it called the player’s ”show of disrespect” toward the referee following his sending off. Referee Gil Manzano wrote in his match report that Lewandowski twice pointed at his nose before pointing his thumb at the referee in a gesture that Manzano interpreted as being disrespectful.
Barcelona appealed the ruling to the administrative court for sport, but that court had refused to temporarily lift the ban while it considered the appeal. Barcelona then sought help from the court of disputes, which agreed that Lewandowski should be allowed to play until a final decision came down.
Lewandowski tops the Spanish league this season with 13 goals and has played a major role in Barcelona leading the league.
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