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Mid-Day Ticker: Ivanovic hit with ban, Mancini concedes EPL title & more

Ivanovic (Getty)

 

By THOMAS FLOYD

If Chelsea is going to defeat Tottenham in Sunday's FA Cup semifinal, the club will have to do it without Branislav Ivanovic.

The Serbian defender was handed a three-match ban by the FA on Thursday after video caught him striking Wigan's Shaun Maloney in the midriff during Chelsea's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. An appeal he filed with the FA was denied.

Ivanovic has been a key cog for Chelsea's defense this season, starting 20 Premier League games, eight Champions League fixtures and four FA Cup matches.

Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:

MANCINI CONCEDES TITLE RACE

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said the race for the Premier League crown is "finished," acknowledging Manchester United will again claim the crown.

United's loss to Wigan on Wednesday coupled with City's win over West Brom may have allowed Mancini's side to get within five points of the EPL lead with five games remaining, but the 47-year-old isn't holding out hope for a late surge.

"Five points is too much," Mancini said. "United have got fantastic spirit. We don't have this spirit."

FULHAM CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR INSTANT REPLAY

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has renewed calls for instant replay to be used by the FA and in the English Premier League, saying that "lots of clubs are suffering from such stupid decisions. Advanced technology is available and it is evidently being used in other sports."

Al Fayed made the statement after Fulham's 1-0 loss to Manchester United in late March was marred by a controversial decision not to award a penalty kick to the Cottagers in second-half stoppage time.

"We need brave pioneers in the Premier League, the FA and within the Premier League shareholder group," he said. "It is time for the Premier League to wake up. They have been in a coma for a long time."

PORTSMOUTH ADMINISTRATORS CONSIDER LIQUIDATION

The administrators in charge of Portsmouth have acknowledged that liquidation is a possibility for the financially troubled organization, as no firm offers to purchase the club have been received since it went into administration in February for the second time in as many years.

Administrator Trevor Birch, though, remains hopeful a buyer can be found.

"This remains a very challenging situation, but we have significant amount of experience and a successful track record as football club administrators," he said.

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Is Ivanovic's suspension warranted? Should Mancini give up on the title race already? Is Al Fayed right to call for instant replay?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Can’t stand Ivanovic for exactly these reasons. He flops, he dives, he punches opponents when the ref is not looking, and lies about it…he basically just cheats. A lot. The picture says it all…crying like a big baby, probably barely touched. He’s also incredibly limp wristed and effeminate.

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  2. Ivanovic took a swing at Donovan while he was at Everton also.

    Al Fayed should know that influencing games and calls through team, league, and media pressure would surely take a hit if replay technology were installed. He must surely know that the top sides will fight like *ell to keep it out. A fair estimate of biased calls gives those top 6 sides on average of 10 points per season.
    No they do not even out between the big fish and the minnows, that’s a fairy tale promoted by the FA and their lackeys.

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  3. It seems like a motivating tactic. Especially the part about the team “not having spirit”. Its risky but Mancini is a good manager so you’d think he knows what he’s doing.

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  4. He may be trying to take pressure off, but it comes off as completely contrived and ham-handed. It certainly won’t fool ManU and I wonder if his players are inwardly laughing at his attempts to play mind games.

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  5. Instant replay maybe ok for some plays but yesterdays Padre/snacks game was stopped for at least 15-20 minutes to watch a ball clearly hit off the wall. If u have replay should only be for goals.

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  6. There was just that NCAA basketball coach a month or two ago who said his seniors “were the worst group of seniors he had ever coached”, and that they were “stealing money from the university”. They went on to win their last 6 games including their conference championship. They made the NCAA tournament only to be ousted in the play-in game by Vermont. So it COULD work, but I don’t think it will.

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  7. Agreed, he’s just saying it to take the pressure off. There is no way the title race is over. Even if United were still up by 8 it wouldn’t be over…

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  8. yea that is nuts. way to inspire your team. and it’s not even true. they play united at home and it only takes one more slip up and they can take the lead. this kind of thing is what gets you fired. even if they do win the league, i’d axe him if i was the owner

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  9. Don’t be fooled by Mancini. He’s privately challenging his players while taking pressure off them publicly. This thing is NOT over yet, especially since they play UTD at the Etihad

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  10. What the hell kind of Coach/Manager makes those kinds of comments about his team “having no spirit” and being out of the running? It’s not even true! Sure, it’s a long shot, but still… wow

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