Football

Suarez out of Copa del Rey final

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will miss the Copa del Rey final against Alaves on May 27, after being banned for two games following his sending-off in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

The suspension applies to cup matches only.

The Catalan club, who reached their fourth straight cup final with a 3-2 aggregate win, had anticipated a one-match ban and had already said they would appeal after Suarez received a second yellow card in the 90th minute of the semi-final, for "striking his arm against a rival player in a reckless fashion".

The Uruguay international was punished for the dismissal, as well as for not going straight to the changing room after leaving the pitch.

Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto, who was also sent off in the same game for receiving two bookings, will also miss the final.

The defending champions visit Alaves today in a cup final dress rehearsal, knowing that they have a chance to go top of La Liga for the first time since October.

They trail Real Madrid by a point, who have two games in hand, but, with Madrid not in action until Sunday morning (Singapore time) at Osasuna, victory will take Barca top for a few hours at least.

Barca boss Luis Enrique has an almost fully fit squad to choose from, as Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta made their return from injury as second-half substitutes in midweek, while Neymar returns from suspension.

However, Enrique has followed a strict rotation policy throughout a demanding fixture schedule in January and February, so the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Roberto could be rested. - WIRE SERVICES

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