Milan - Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o was
banned for three matches Tuesday for head butting Chievo Verona
defender Bostjan Cesar at the weekend, handing another big blow to the
struggling European champion.
Video: Eto'o headbutt
The referee did not sanction Eto'o
during Sunday's game but league officials used TV replays to decide the
ban. Eto'o was also fined $40 000 for the act reminiscent of
Zinedine Zidane's clash with Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup
The incident occurred in the 38th minute when Cesar threw
a weak punch that hit Eto'o in the face. The Cameroon international
jogged away before turning around and head butting Cesar in the chest.
Cesar was not punished for his involvement.
18 goals in all competitions this season, Eto'o has been one of the few
bright spots for Inter, which has had to cope with injuries to key
players and a loss of form and is currently nine points behind city
rival and Serie A leader AC Milan.
Fellow striker Diego Milito
has struggled with form and injuries this season and defenders Maicon,
Walter Samuel and Cristian Chivu, plus midfielders Coutinho and Thiago
Motta, are currently out injured.
League judge Gianpaolo Tosel described the head butt as fitting into the "extremes of violent conduct."
will miss Inter's next games against Parma and Lazio and won't play
again in Serie A until next year since Inter will travel to the United
Arab Emirates for the Club World Cup next month.
The third match that Eto'o will miss is unclear because several of Inter's matches have been postponed to undetermined dates.
the second time this season that a key player in Serie A has been
banned with the use of TV replays. Juventus winger Milos Krasic was
banned for two matches last month for diving to earn a penalty.
Two years ago, Fiorentina forward Alberto Gilardino received a two-game ban for scoring a goal with his hand.
Tuesday, Lecce forward Ernesto Chevanton was hit with a five-match ban
for kicking an opponent violently and then taking off his jersey and
waving it at the referee in protest during a 3-2 loss to Sampdoria.
In addition, Fiorentina defender Per Kroldrup was banned for two games for insulting the referee.