Neymar set to miss crucial El Clasico clash

Getty Images

Getty Images

As Neymar left the pitch, he sarcastically applauded referee Gil Manzano.

Javier Mascherano believes Barcelona teammate Neymar should be able to play in the El Clasico against Real Madrid despite his red card against Malaga last weekend.

The Brazilian forward was shown a freakish yellow card in the first-half for tying his boot laces next to the ball, stopping the hosts from taking a free-kick in the process.

Forward Neymar, who had with 15 goals for Barca this season in all competitions, was sent off in the 65th minute after receiving a second yellow card.

Real are now three points clear and have a game in hand despite Antoine Griezmann's strike five minutes from time snatching a 1-1 draw for Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But under Spanish league rules, the 25-year-old would receive a longer ban if his reaction to the sending off is deemed as contempt towards the match officials.

Referee Gil Manzano included Neymar's sarcastic applause in his report to the Spanish federation's competition committee, which made a decision to added a one-game ban, meaning he will be unavailable for the April 23 El Clasico clash. He was given a yellow card for "obstructing a free-kick" when he bent over to tie the laces of his shoes.

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, and Neymar da Silva from Brazil, right, gesture during their match against CF Malaga in a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Malaga and Barcelona in Malaga, Spain, Saturday April 8, 2017. "We have to have be very careful in some games because there were some ugly challenges from behind that went unpunished and tying boots was", Enrique added.

"It is curious, but we are used to it".

Defender Pepe's second-half header looked like Zinedine Zidane's side would remain top of the table but Antoine Griezmann's equalizer meant the European champions' lead only extended to three points. But [as players] we don't point fingers at each other.

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