Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis has been handed a three-match suspension after he was issued a red card just before half-time in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
Spanish outlet AS confirmed the sanction on Wednesday:
AS English @English_AS
Atleti's Felipe Luis handed 3 match ban by the Disciplinary Committee following his straight red at Camp Nou on Sat. https://t.co/vjGLrpxVjf2016-2-3 13:13:01
Luis was dismissed after an unnecessary lunge at Lionel Messi in the 44th minute, and Alteti will now likely have to rely on Jesus Gamez to fill the left-back role, according to Spanish football writer Rik Sharma:
Rik Sharma @riksharma_
Three game ban for Filipe Luis for lunge on Messi. With Siqueira loaned to Valencia, looks like Gamez at left back for a while2016-2-3 13:21:51
Diego Godin was also sent off against Barca, and the defeat saw Diego Simeone's side fall three points behind the La Liga-leading Catalans.
Luis has played a key role for Atleti this season since moving back to the Vicente Calderon after an ill-fated season with Chelsea.
The Brazilian has started 19 of the Madrid outfit's 22 league games as Atleti have conceded the fewest goals (10) in the Spanish top flight, according to WhoScored.com, but he will now be unavailable for key clashes against Eibar, Getafe and Villarreal.
Luis undoubtedly deserves the ban, though. His high tackle on Messi was reckless and dangerous, as noted by the Mirror's Ed Malyon:
Ed Malyon @eaamalyon
Red card for Filipe Luis. Studs-up on Messi's knee - the sort of tackle you expect from a Brazilian on an Argentine. Diabolical challenge2016-1-30 15:46:26
The incident can be seen in the below video:
Luis could be a big loss for Simeone, as Atleti are now playing catch-up with Barca and have played one game more than them in the league.
Luis Enrique's side have won four games on the bounce, and Atletico will need to show top form consistently if they are going to have any chance of catching the Blaugrana. But Luis' absence will hurt Atleti in the short term and could throw their title challenge off track if they drop any more points.
Simeone will have to hope that his alternative options can maintain Atleti's frugal record at the back.