Atlético Mineiro forward Diego Tardelli has been handed a four match ban for abusing referee Elmo Alves Resende Cunha.
The 29 year-old was dismissed during Atlético’s 1-1 draw at Bahia on the 22nd October by Cunha, who claimed that Tardelli had verbally assaulted him in the closing minutes of the contest.
After weighing up the official’s account, Brazil"s Superior Sports Justice Tribunal have seemingly accepted Cunha’s version of events and punished Tardelli accordingly with a suspension that will likely harm Atlético’s push for a top four finish and a place in next year’s Copa Libertadores.
Levir Culpi’s side are currently 5th in the Brasileirão, but are level on 54 points with 4th placed Fluminense, as well as Grêmio and Corinthians below them.
Tardelli is set to miss the matches against Palmeiras, Figueirense, Flamengo and Internacional, but will be available for the trip to Coritiba.
The Brazil international, who was also fined R$10,000, can only hope that Atlético remain in contention ahead of his return.
This incident takes the shine off what has been a strong season for Tardelli. The €5.25 million signing from Al-Gharafa SC [August 2012] has scored nine goals in 22 appearances for Atlético, while his brace in October’s 2-0 win over Argentina has earned him a place at the forefront of Seleção Head Coach Dunga’s plans.