Ivanovic must serve three-match ban

Defender Branislav Ivanovic will serve a three-match suspension after Chelsea’s appeal was dismissed.

The FA’s disciplinary panel viewed video footage of Ivanovic appearing to punch Wigan’s Shaun Maloney in the stomach during Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.

The incident occured in the build-up to Juan Mata’s controversial winner and was missed by referee Mike Jones.

Ivanovic denied a charge of violent conduct, but the verdict means he is ruled out of Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham as well as vital league games against Arsenal and QPR.

His absence is particularly untimely for the Blues given current concerns over the fitness of John Terry during a hectic period of fixtures.

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