AC Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Out Three Matches, but Club Can Survive

Tim Fontenault@Tim_FontenaultCorrespondent IApril 11, 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the pitch without a fuss after being sent off in Sunday's win over Fiorentina.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves the pitch without a fuss after being sent off in Sunday's win over Fiorentina.Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Serie A's disciplinary board has handed AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic a three-match ban following his sending off against Fiorentina in a 2-1 Rossoneri win on Sunday night at the Artemio Franchi.

The giant Swede received a yellow card in the 77th minute of play for a poor tackle before receiving a straight red card ten minutes later.

The yellow card was Ibrahimovic's eighth and that earned him an automatic one-match ban. Lega Serie A also took into account the red card in a second straight game and the reasoning behind the card.

The 29-year-old apparently insulted an assistant referee late on in the match, but Ibrahimovic has denied such actions and Milan have decided to appeal.

"I was angry with myself after losing possession," Ibra said to Sportal after the match. "I made a comment to myself—it was not directed at the referee or his assistant.

"I ask for forgiveness from everyone. I left the pitch with making a scene. I was looking at the officials as they were in front of me, and I did not have a gripe with him."

A statement on the club's official Web site read as follows:

"A.C. Milan announces its decision to lodge an appeal against the Disciplinary Committee’s ruling regarding Zlatan Ibrahimovic."

The Rossoneri lead the pack in Italy's top flight by three points with 65 total with six matches to play. If the suspension holds, Ibrahimovic will miss half of the final push towards the club's first championship in seven years. Would his suspension kill Milan's title hopes?

Ibracadabra would not be missing much. The three Serie A fixtures he would be missing are Sampdoria, Brescia and Bologna. Milan should win all three of those, with or without their leading scorer.

It's not like Milan are deprived on attack. Robinho is an excellent alternative and matches up well with compatriot Pato at the top of the attack. Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antonio Cassano both play well behind the strikers.

Clarence Seedorf proved he still has a spark in the engine. If necessary, there is also the young German by the name of Alexander Merkel who has proven he has the stuff to be a top player.

Milan fans need to be happy this did not happen next week. That would mean Ibrahimovic would miss one of the two most challenging matches remaining.

Milan travel to Roma on May 7. The Giallorossi beat Milan through Marco Borriello in December. Milan will want their star for that game.

After that, Milan must travel to Udinese on the final match day, May 22, where the title could likely be decided. Udinese have surprised with a great season which sees them in fifth place, one point behind Lazio. The last meeting ended 4-4 in a wild one.

This suspension is frustrating for everyone, but in the end, there are six games left, with the two most trying coming in the last three games.

Milan fans should not be worried about this suspension too much. If they play at their best, Milan should easily handle their three opponents without Ibrahimovic.