Atletico Madrid will be without manager Diego Simeone for the crucial three final games of the Spanish league season after the Argentine boss was handed a three-match ban by La Liga
The 45-year-old was sent off by referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz during his side’s 1-0 win over Malaga after a ball boy to threw a ball onto the pitch as Malaga were counter-attacking in first-half injury-time.
The move came to nothing but it didn’t stop the officials from making the decision to send Simeone to the stands for the second half, despite the Atletico boss saying he had nothing to do with the incident.
While it has not been proven whether Simeone was behind the ball entering play, the rules state that the manager is responsible for what happens around his technical area.
The ban handed out by La Liga will see the Atletico boss miss the three final games of the season against Rayo Vallecano, Levante and Celta Vigo as his side fight Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title.
Simeone’s side are currently in second place but only on goal difference, with an equal points total to leaders Barcelona and just one ahead of city rivals Real.
After the game, Simeone accepted the dismissal but insisted he had nothing to do with the ball entering the field of play.
He said: ‘The images will show [what happened]. It’ll become clear. It’s clear that the referee made the right decision as per the regulations. He did what he had to do. There’s little more that can be said.
‘It was a boy beside me [who threw the ball], but that doesn’t mean anything.’
Replays appeared to show Simeone gesturing before the ball made its way onto the pitch, with some witnesses saying it was a ball boy next to the home side’s dugout.
Despite Atletico’s passionate boss having to watch from the stands, the La Liga title-hopefuls earned a narrow win over Malaga following a strike from substitute Angel Correa.