Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo has failed in his attempt to have his sending off against Manchester City on Saturday rescinded. The Portuguese international was shown a straight red card by referee Steve Bennett for a lunging tackle on Andy Cole midway through the second half.
“Ronaldo will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect.” said a statement on the FA’s website.
However, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will not be punished over his row with referee Steve Bennett. Ferguson clashed with Bennett at half-time during United‘s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday. The United boss was annoyed by a Stephen Jordan tackle on Wayne Rooney which went unpunished. But Bennett did not include the argument with Ferguson in his report so the Football Association will not be taking the matter any further. Sir Alex also made his feelings known about Ronaldo‘s red card which he strongly disagreed with- saying that the referee should have another look at the footage as Ronaldo “didn’t even get close“
It was the second sending off of Ronaldo‘s United career. He misses the FA Cup tie with Burton and the Premiership game with Liverpool and the Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Blackburn. Man United will desperately hope that Ji Sung-Park has recovered from the injury that he picked up during the warm-up against Burton Albion. Failing that, it is likely that Darren Fletcher will play on the right with Smithy and Scholesy in the middle and Giggsy on the left. Another possibility is that Giggsy could switch to the right and Kieron Richardson could take the left wing, now that Man United are spoilt for choice in defence after the recent purchases of Vidic and Evra (despite his miserable debut). An additional worry, though, is the head injury to Scholesy– so that John O’Shea may have deputise in midfield again.
However one looks at it, though, with the loss of Ronaldo for three games, Ji Sung-Park is the best and most natural replacement…..