Atletico's Luis banned for Messi horror tackle

Lionel Messi (Supplied)
Lionel Messi (Supplied)

Madrid - Atletico Madrid left-back Filipe Luis has been handed a three-game ban for his dangerous challenge on World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in Saturday's top of the table clash won 2-1 by Barcelona.

Luis was shown a straight red card just before half-time for catching Messi on his left knee with his studs, sparking wild protests from Barca boss Luis Enrique.

"The challenge scared me," Enrique said after the game.

However, Atletico claimed the suspension was excessive and announced their intention to appeal.

"Similar incidents ought to be judged in the same manner and have the same punishment," said Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Caminero.

"It cannot be that an identical incident that is reported in exactly the same way in the referee's report is given a one-game ban and our player Filipe is given three."

Atletico were eventually reduced to nine men at the Camp Nou as Diego Godin was also sent off in the second-half as they fell three points behind Barca in the title race.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said the suspension was due to the "special seriousness" of the challenge.

Atletico are facing a defensive headache for their next La Liga clash against Eibar on Saturday with right-back Juanfran also suspended, whilst Montenegrin centre-back Stefan Savic suffered a thigh strain in training on Wednesday.

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